Tableau disrupted the Business Intelligence field in 2003, helping people see and understand data with their analytics platform. In 2019, it was acquired by Salesforce, a global leader in CRM and, more recently, the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms by Gartner marked Tableau’s eighth consecutive year positioned as a leader.
Tableau’s analytics platform includes 3 main products:
These products can change the flow of analysis to make data more accessible to users through visualisations and an easy to use interface. Since its early days as a research paper by its founders at Stanford, it was focused on several key ideas including interactivity with its drag-and-drop user interface, and live querying of data from the database.
These user-focused innovations have led the platform to be widely integrated with many enterprises’ analytics workflow. Today, Tableau is helping anyone that works with data to get answers and insights more rapidly through visualisations and dashboards. It is also encouraging more users to join the ecosystem and perform self-service analytics.
So how can the different users in a company utilise this platform?
Tableau has split their licenses into 3 types:
To put this into context, let’s look at 4 different user profiles and how they can utilise Tableau in the context of a sales company:
These are the top-level management who play a strategic role in the organisation. They are in charge of decision making for the entire business and setting the direction in which the organisation is headed. These executives need to understand how the business is doing as a whole and how they compare to the rest of the industries. This calls for their data to be aggregated to the level that it encompasses the entire company with enough interactivity for them to drill down to a regional or country level. They are mainly the Viewers of the dashboards and utilise the information provided to make data-driven decisions. In a sales organisation, this user will monitor sales performance and compare them against the target that has been set up. The dashboard will allow for a holistic view of the entire organisation, to find opportunities and recommendations for the organisation.
See below an example of an Executive Sales dashboard. This dashboard is an actual embedded Tableau Dashboard, made by one of Billigence’s BI Consultants.
Next, we have the managers who are responsible for customer complaints. They are required to report to the top level and execute the goals set out for them. They will need to monitor the number of complaints in each State and categorise the complaints by issue or classification. They can integrate the data with their knowledge on the ground to enhance their ability to tackle issues and make key decisions. Although they will be looking at the data at a different level of detail from the top level, it is still important for them to make data-driven decisions. They can take on the Explorer role, where they can not only use existing dashboards but create their own from existing data sources to find their insights.
See below an example of an image of a Complaints Summary dashboard:
Third, there are the people responsible for responding to the complaints. They can be anyone from the first level management or the front line employees. These people would perform the day to day activities and deal with the operations involved when responding to customer complaints from all the different channels. They will be required to meet their quotas, e.g., ensuring that complaints are acknowledged within 24 hours. They can be either Explorers or Viewers, where they can monitor their performance near real-time, and work with up-to-date information on their mobile devices even when they are on the ground. They should be able to pull up information when required in order to perform their job efficiently.
See below an example of a Complaints per Channel dashboard:
Data Analysts / Data Stewards
Finally, there are the analysts or data stewards, who are in charge of creating the dashboards viewed by the people in the organisation. They understand the business domain and how the data interacts with the business process. They are the Creators in the Tableau ecosystem who are tasked to create and update the dashboards that are relevant to the business users. With Tableau Prep, they can easily pull out the information from the various databases and transform it to be ready for analysis. This prepped data source will then be published on Tableau Server, where other users can utilise the data without going through the whole preparation process again. Then, they can use Tableau Desktop to create the visualisations and dashboard that will finally be published on the Server for the users to view. The ease of use of the Tableau drag-and-drop interface allows the analyst to create useful visualisations quickly, and allow them to experiment and prototype their dashboards in an agile fashion.
Tableau also came up with Tableau Blueprint for organisations that choose to employ the platform in their analytics workflow. This is a step-by-step prescriptive guide to broaden, deepen, and scale the use of data.
The Tableau Blueprint aims to help companies transform into a data-driven organisation by integrating Tableau with existing technology investments. Based on a repeatable four-step process, the Blueprint guides companies through key decision points by offering concrete plans, recommendations, and considerations.
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