How Tableau Transformed Traditional Data Analytics in Not-For-Profit


Having been an avid Tableau user over the last few years I can almost connect with Tableau like it has been my companion on this data journey thus far. Since the time we were looking to streamline reporting to let our end users have the capability of a somewhat self-service reporting platform without the need to wait on the IT department for data.

Even as efficient the IT department was, the fact was that data does not wait for anyone and is continuously getting aggregated behind the scenes. So what if we had a way to get the insights behind this plethora of data and make informed decisions and when challenged with this task is when Tableau came into the picture and found an unlikely home in the Not-for-Profit sector where Excel has been the undisputed data crunching platform for the Company’s Data analysis needs.

Data Visualization at Its Best

So, what is Tableau?  Tableau is a powerful and fastest growing data visualization tool used in the Business Intelligence Industry where data analytics is a key player in organizations strategic goals. Tableau helps in simplifying raw data into the very easily understandable format. Data analysis is super-fast with Tableau and the visualizations created are in the form of dashboards and worksheets. The data that is created using Tableau can be understood by professional at any level in an organization.

 How Tableau Transformed Traditional Data Analytics in Not-For-ProfitI remember the days when I used to be a “salesman” talking about Tableau at my company, getting people to take a look at this new software and see the endless possibilities we could achieve using web reporting tools Letting the end users dictate requirements by giving them more visibility on what the possibilities where and what questions can be answered right there in the tool.  In fact, what questions can be asked by looking at this massive Electronic Health Record data dump from an altogether different perspective without the need to be limited to pivot tables, and numerous filters on your data set. All this just so Excel could handle the data volume without breaking down, and not to forget the numerous times users had to break down data on multiple tabs and sometimes multiple workbooks to come up with an Excel dashboard. Then repeat the steps all over again. Not to mention the recurring scenarios where end users fall back on free texting data ever so often, which in turn chokes up the reporting capabilities without being on a modern data analytics platform like Tableau.

Get Out of The 90’s

In the U.S. Midwest and mostly across the country, only a minority of companies say they have a modern reporting platform and regularly base decisions on data. In fact, most companies struggle with data-related problems, organizational issues or outdated BI and analytics infrastructures which were mostly built in the 90’s. They ignore more recent usage scenarios such as explorative analytics on big data sources. These problems become even more obvious when contrasted with modern infrastructures built in the cloud and the need for data platforms to connect to data sources outside your firewall. Additionally, the challenges caused by exploding data volume and variety as the saying goes “You are only as good as your Data”.

Final Thoughts

Finally, the highest pressure evolves from competition as more and more companies are trying to find innovative solutions to address the Data needs. Healthcare companies must react quicker than ever to changing demands from their customers, health insurance marketplace, insurance payors etc., to keep pace with their competition. The time has come to modernize today’s reporting landscapes and base decisions on information rather than gut-feeling – the legacy of the past must be overcome to reach the future of reporting to stay in the present.


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