3 More Ways to Overcome the Excel Barrier to Tableau Adoption

3 More Ways to Overcome the Excel Barrier to Tableau Adoption FeatureYikes – I’m getting old in Tableau years. This week I clicked on a Tableau Public post I thought sounded interesting: 3 Tips to Overcoming the Excel Barrier to Tableau Adoption. Wow, I thought, the Tableau Public team is so in tune, and that sounds just like something I would say. Interested to hear their take, I clicked on the article to discover I had wrote it in May of 2016! Ah, May 2016. A time before I started Playfair Data, my Twitter handle was @OSMGuy, and the Kansas City Royals were defending World Series Champions.

I also had an epiphany. I thought back to all the posts I’ve shared and presentations I’ve delivered in hopes of evangelizing moving business users from a spreadsheet mentality to data visualization. What I realized is: this is just as relevant as ever. Now ten years into my career, my primary challenge remains convincing my stakeholders to leave the comfort of Excel behind for the value of self-service analytics and data visualization that Tableau thrives at. Something so seemingly obvious that has technically been available since William Playfair conjured up the bar chart and line graph in 1786, but which so few companies are doing well.

This post shares three more specific tactics for smoothing the transition from text tables to data visualization. We’ll start with the ‘gateway’ chart, the highlight table, learn how to leverage Viz in Tooltip to display trends or comparisons within crosstab cells, and I’ll share a hack for allowing your users to toggle between a text table and a data visualization. We’ve led the horse to water; now we’re going to give them a loving nudge in.

By | 2019-02-12T12:53:33+00:00 February 12th, 2019|Tableau Tips, Thoughts|

Year in Review / Top 10 Tableau Tutorials of 2018

Ryan Sleeper Top 10 2018 Year in Review FeatureThank you for your support in 2018. This time of year is always a time of reflection for me, and one consistent theme I’m grateful for - and which I’ve come to realize is the single biggest-driving force behind my career - is you: the community. Your support has not only inspired me, it has made it possible for me to grow personally. You have forced me to sharpen my skills by teaching and challenged me to provide better solutions. So Thank You. Each year, I ask how could the next possibly be better, but 2018 included more huge updates: (1) I rebranded my analytics consulting agency, Ryan Sleeper LLC, to Playfair Data, (2) we launched Playfair Data TV, a premium online Tableau video training resource, (3) my book Practical Tableau was published, and (4) I had the opportunity to speak at 8 Tableau user groups across the US, Canada, and England. And, of course, I released more content! 41 blog posts and 50 videos to be exact. As a small token of my appreciation, I’m sharing my top ten posts and some statistics from my blog. My hope is that this content helps you in your Tableau journey, and that my observations provide some insight into the current state of the Tableau / analytics community. I’ll close the post by previewing even more announcements coming in 2019.

By | 2018-12-18T14:02:48+00:00 December 18th, 2018|Tableau Tips, Thoughts|

Dashboard Element 3: The Signature Line with Data Status Alert

Dashboard Element 3 Signature Line with Data Status Alert FeatureThis is the third in a five-part series about my go-to elements of Tableau dashboards. For future updates, subscribe to my mailing list. As discussed in the triple crown framework, the practice of data visualization is very much a psychological exercise. If you can get in the head of your audience and understand their needs and what will resonate with them, you will maximize the chance of your visualization causing action. I also mentioned in my who is the audience post that two of the four audience types rely on establishing trust with the data and/or the analyst themselves before taking action. For this reason, I often like to close my dashboards with a ‘signature line’ that usually includes (1) the name of the author and how to contact them, (2) a list of data sources the dashboard is created with, and (3) a notification that tells the user whether the data is up-to-date. This post will share an example of a signature line on a Tableau dashboard and show you how to create a data status alert so your stakeholders will always know if the data source is current.

By | 2018-08-07T10:32:30+00:00 August 7th, 2018|Tableau Tips, Thoughts|

Vital Question 2: What is the Measurement of Success?

Vital Question 2 What is the Measurement of Success FeatureMy second of two “vital questions” is more practical than understanding your audience, but I’m surprised how often it is overlooked: What is the measurement of success? If you don’t know the objective of the strategy at hand, how do you know what to look for in your analyses? How do you know which insights to share with your stakeholders? If you find your end users asking the dreaded, “So what?”, it is likely that you are not aligned on the objectives of the business. When this is the case, they do not know how to apply your insights in an actionable way to help the business improve. Understanding how success is measured will lead you to relevant business questions that should become the focus of your dashboards. Knowing the answer to this question will help you in all phases of your analytics and should be considered before opening Tableau. This post will discuss the OST model, provide some examples of measurements of success, and show how I translate these into core aspects of my dashboards.

By | 2018-12-03T12:04:53+00:00 May 22nd, 2018|Thoughts|

Vital Question 1: Who is the Audience?

Vital Question 1 Who is the Audience FeatureI’ve always believed that it is not enough to master the tactics of Tableau and data visualization if you neglect to put some strategic thought into your process. There are several strategic frameworks I follow to get to an effective result as efficiently as possible, but they all share a common thread: a focus on the audience. That’s why I start every engagement with my first of two “vital questions”: Who is the audience? The answer to this question largely informs what my Tableau product will eventually look like and getting the answer right tremendously improves the chances of my visualization being adopted and causing action. This post discusses the different types of internal and external audiences, tactics for handling audiences at different points on the visualization maturity spectrum, and the four personality types that you may find yourself ‘selling’ your dashboards to.

By | 2018-10-15T19:24:40+00:00 April 24th, 2018|Thoughts|