Get to know Tableau User Group Ambassador, Patrick McCormick in this Ambassador Spotlight!
Jordan: Where are you from?
Patrick: The Madison, WI area has been home for me since college. I grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota. Maybe it is time to venture out a little farther?
Jordan: How long have you been. Using Tableau?
Patrick: I started using Tableau in Q4 2012 when I helped a client select Tableau over other tools.
Jordan: How do you use Tableau? At work? In your personal life?
Patrick: I work at McCormick BI, LLC. We support clients in their use of Tableau. This can run the gamut. It might include standing up and administering an externally facing Tableau Server environment as well as preparing data for consumption in Tableau by designing and populating a data mart. It might include supporting our clients in their dashboard development. I grew up in IT and specifically in the Data Management space. My clients are typically data savvy subject matter experts that want some technical help.
We help Medicare Health Plans improve quality of care with our Stars Performance Tool Pack which is built in Tableau.
Speech Analytics is another way we use Tableau. Call centers are a common use case. You know when you call a company and first they tell you this call may be recorded? One of our partners provides the technology to turn that audio recording into an enriched transcription (words spoken, categorization, sentiment, gender, etc.) that we visualize in Tableau so that the voice of the customer can be better understood in aggregate or even drill down and listen to a particular call recording right in the Tableau dashboard. The plot thickens when we then use Tableau Prep to bring in related data about the caller so that you can further slice and dice things.
At home I just used Tableau to help clean up a TB of data on a shared hard drive. Content on the hard drive had accumulated over years including family photos, videos and other files. It was a pretty big mess. I wrote a PowerShell script to capture metadata about the files. Then Tableau enabled me to quickly dial into what was out there so that I could efficiently clean it up.
Jordan: Where do you find data for your personal projects?
Patrick: Data is everywhere. Another personal data source for me has been results from my kids sporting activities.
Jordan: What type of data interests you?
Patrick: Tough one. I'm going to go with the speech analytics data since that is a new capability to many people so it is very engaging.
Jordan: How have you learned to use Tableau?
Patrick: I learned Tableau by diving right in and using it. The tool documentation is great and there are a wealth of blogs/vlogs to help. Now Tableau has a great eLearning option.
Jordan: What's your favorite Tableau project you’ve ever worked on?
Patrick: I'm going to go with the project that got me started with Tableau. I helped a marketing agency select Tableau. From there I stood up an externally facing Tableau Server environment so that they their customers could log in and interact with the results of the marketing campaigns.
Jordan: What is your favorite feature of Tableau?
Patrick: Can I say Tableau Prep? It addresses a common roadblock to seeing and understanding your data. It provides capability to see and understand your data directly in Tableau Prep as well as staging the data for subsequent analysis In Tableau Desktop/Server.
Jordan: What do you want to learn more about?
Patrick: Geospatial. Kent Marten and team are bringing new capabilities to the table like geospatial joins which is new territory for me. Pun intended.
Jordan: What’s your biggest feature request?
Patrick: In general, the evolution of Tableau Prep and Hyper is an area I would like to see further developed. You can see that the foundation is in place for some powerful things to come. One tiny quick win in this direction would be to have the ability to specify a custom field separator on output in Tableau Prep. Can I get some up votes at https://community.tableau.com/ideas/8697?
Jordan: How did you discover the Tableau Community?
Patrick: Back in 2012, there wasn't a TUG in Wisconsin so I contacted someone at Tableau about starting one. This enabled me to plug into the Tableau Community and discover what a differentiator it is.
Jordan: What’s your favorite part about the Tableau Community?
Patrick: Unparalleled enthusiasm and engagement. It is fun.
Jordan: What does being a Tableau ambassador mean to you?
Patrick: Being a Tableau ambassador has been a huge honor and opportunity to meet more people in the Tableau Community across the globe. I do feel a little guilty about it because I have an incredible support system in my #MadisonTUG Leadership Team. They do a ton of work that result in great TUG events. See pic and video highlights here.
Jordan: What advice do you have for new members of Tableau? Of the Community?
Patrick: Take the initiative to get involved. You will be glad you did. There are so many options. Find a local TUG or start one. Find a virtual TUG that more specifically aligns with your niche (ex. Server or Healthcare). Just a few other options are:
Jordan: You seem to enjoy being creative with Tableau. What is your favorite type of viz?
Patrick: Box-and-whisker plot. It isn't that common but in the right context can provide powerful insight.
Jordan: Is there anyone in the community you have worked with closely, or is there someone that inspires you?
Patrick: Dan Murray is the first Tableau living legend that I met. He actually made the trip from Atlanta, GA to Madison, WI to speak at one of our TUG events. He came a few years back in February when we had record low temperatures of something like -30 degrees Fahrenheit. That left a mark. Dan is a very impressive guy. He wrote one of the first books on Tableau and he was a Zen Master.
Ryan Cunningham is a Tableau Account Manager that was particularly supportive and helpful of our TUG in the early days. Jordan Scott has been our primary Tableau Community contact. Jordan has always been responsive, supportive and always a pleasure to work with. The list goes on…
Jordan: What is your favorite hobby outside of work?
Patrick: Historically my favorite hobby was any activity related to our four sons (camping, sporting activities, etc.). My wife and I are about to become empty nesters though so I'm starting do other things. I just wrapped up archery league (good thing for handicap scoring). I'm looking forward to get out on my road bike this summer with some friends from the gym.
Jordan: Anything else you want to share?