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  • Writer's pictureSimon Beaumont

Can 60 minutes help shape yours and your team’s next 12 months?


If, like me, you lead an analytics department, you will likely face the challenge of writing an analytics roadmap or annual business plan that describes your future innovations and developments. Sometimes I find myself in need of fresh ideas, in need of inspiration and it is in these moments I am thankful for the Tableau community and events such as Tableau Conference and Tableau User Groups.

To explain why, I first need to travel back 3 years. At the time I was Head of Information for a large NHS Trust and had successfully deployed Tableau, on scale, across 20 analysts and 6,000 business users. I had exhausted my supplies of Tableau ‘out of the box’ functionality to enhance our users experience of Tableau. Server had been implemented, subscriptions were seen as the jewel in the crown and alerts were just around the corner. Our dashboards were improving patient care, empowering record levels of data quality and people were finding it ever easier to see and understand their data.

In June of that year, I attended my first ever Tableau Conference Europe. I immersed myself in the nerdy pleasures of Tobacco Docks for 3 days and was in awe of the content. I had been wowed by Francois Ajenstat on stage with his latest box of Tableau goodies and I had attended many inspiring customer sessions. It was the last afternoon of the conference and I noticed a session being run by Bethany Lyons, who shamefully, at the time, I had no idea who she was. Fast forward 60 minutes. A whirlwind 60 minutes of ooo’s, aah’s and many how the hell did she do that.

I remember walking back to Waterloo station with my analysts and the whole conversation revolved around ‘we could do that’, ‘that would be perfect for what the business is asking for’. In that short walk across London our business plan for the forthcoming 12 months was formed. We committed to using Bethany’s lollipop chart to meet the business need of comparing performance of multiple teams across a range of measures on a single page. We branded them 'Performance Pops'. From a single Tableau Conference session, a sustainable solution to an ongoing business problem had been found. You can view our twist on a lollipop chart to compare performance of multiple teams in my Tableau Public viz here.

'Performance Pops' - a visual way of comparing the performance of multiple teams across a range of metrics.

On June 27th 2019, Bethany was at it again, but this time at London TUG. She was presenting the latest functionality of Tableau. In a whistle stop tour of set actions, parameter actions, vector charts and spatial functions she had once again wowed me. Ideas were forming in my mind of how we could weave this rich functionality into our next generation analytics at our JLL BI Centre of Excellence. I found myself imagining the use cases for parameter actions, for hiding and in-hiding menus and content, all things that would dramatically enhance the experience of our users.

One of the mind blowing examples shared at the June 19 London TUG by Bethany Lyons.

So, my advice to you is simple, if ever you find yourself doubting the value of attending a Tableau Community event, if you ever find yourself thinking the speaker content doesn’t float your boat, ask yourself this ‘what if those 60 minutes will shape mine and my team’s next 12 months?’

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