9 Replies Latest reply on Apr 4, 2018 10:10 AM by Amanda Boyle

    How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?

    John Thompson

      Hello everyone,

      I want to propose to my management team the idea of an internal Tableau User Group to expose Tableau to more team members at my company.

      I'm looking for best practices and suggestions on creating ice breaker presentation for people who have never heard of Tableau and are die hard excel users.

      Plus I want to find out how to create a private company Tableau communtiy page that can only be logged into by employess.

      Looking for forward to the communities suggestion on this post.

        • 1. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
          Eric Summers

          Hi John,


          I would start with Jordan Scott joscott@tableau.com for more info on how to accomplish your goals. She should be able to get you started or point you in the right direction.




          • 2. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
            Jonathan Drummey

            Hi John,


            The way Tableau wins over people is by helping them do their jobs faster/better/easier. I see roughly three categories in this area:


            1) Pain points. These are places where people know they have challenges. For example with the data prep capabilities Tableau has introduced in the last couple of years there's a ton of things we can do in Tableau that are hard and/or time-consuming to do in Excel. Two examples in Excel are using ad hoc groups for cleansing data and the data interpreter.


            2) Art of the possible. In this case people don't know that there are different ways of working that are enabled by different tools. With Tableau the visual analytics features (dragging & dropping pills, reference lines, clusters, changing aggregations with a couple of clicks, filtering at a click, adding table calcs, etc.) regularly blows people away, but works best when the data is something they are familiar with. Another thing I'll point out in demos is how far I can go (like bring in data, do some cleanup, build some charts, and build an interactive dashboard) without touching the keyboard or choosing a chart type. Tableau's speed to results is a tremendous advantage. Something else I always incorporate when the data has a spatial component is double-click to get a map, it's magic to a lot of users.


            3) Stockholm syndrome. Whether it's Excel, SAS, R, SQL, etc., people get attached to what they know and have expertise in and can have a hard time seeing any advantage to something else, especially when the capabilities of their chosen tool overlap with Tableau. This is most often where I hear things like "Tableau makes pretty charts." In this case I try to honor the knowledge that people have and call out where they can use that knowledge in Tableau. For example with Excel besides worksheets Tableau can connect to pivot tables & named ranges (which users may have prepared already), plus Tableau's union functionality enables tying multiple worksheets together.


            The "How to Excel with Tableau" video is really good at addressing a number of particular "how do I...?" technical points, check out the TC17 version at Sign Up | Tableau Conference Live.


            Two expectations to set early on are:


            a) Tableau is not a drop-in replacement for Excel. There's a lot of overlap in functionality, and there are things that we do in Excel that are hard to very difficult to do in Tableau. Two particular areas are 1) Tableau treats data like a database does and therefore likes tidy data and 2) Tableau was not designed to do the kind of pixel-perfect conditional formatting we can do in Excel.


            b) Moving to using Tableau is also an opportunity to grow skills in data visualization and build different kinds of views & analyses to take advantage of what can be done in Tableau...and ultimately change how the business works. What I've found is that the organizations that are least successful in adopting Tableau are the ones who want to keep everything the same just with some shiny new data viz.


            For a private Tableau community page I'll ping the Tableau Community and they can reach out to you.



            2 of 2 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?

              Hi John


              Both Eric and Jonathan have given great advice (And I would also confirm to reach out to Jordan Scott - she is awesome!). I help co-lead the city-wide Des Moines TUG, as well as a few internal to my organization. I guess I would also suggest to think about the main goal for the group - is it more around socializing Tableau to get more users? Or is it to take existing users to share best practices? Most of the groups I've been a part of have been more centered around getting existing users together to share best practices. If you do have the group mixed with people you want to convert, I would recommend identifying a few Tableau power users in your company that can showcase dashboards that are great examples of the value-add of data visualization.


              Also, I would see if you can get your group sponsored internally by a VP or senior leadership. Having a top-down support structure really helps drive Tableau usage and adoption. In terms of a private community page, we don't have one for my org, but we use our internal social media tool called Yammer.


              hope this helps! Best of luck to you and your user group.

              • 4. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
                John Thompson

                Thanks Eric for the email address for Jordan. I sent her an email asking for help with the question.

                • 5. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
                  John Thompson

                  Thanks Jonathan for the great suggestions on starting an internal Tableau User Group.

                  I'm the only power user at my company. My main goal for this group is to expose Tableau to new users to increase the current number of users.

                  • 6. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
                    John Thompson

                    Thanks for the great tips on starting an internal Tableau User Group. My company currently has 10 desktop licenses and 30 online licenses. The challenge is there has not been allot of adoption of Tableau since it was launched. This is why I want to start an internal user group to jump start more people using our unused Tableau licenses.

                    • 7. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
                      Eric Summers

                      I think consistency is the key with adoption. If your potential users see and hear about Tableau's benefits and features monthly or more, they are more likely to find the use case that works for them. One thing in our meetings that get a lot of attention and engagement are viz competitions. They don't even need a winner or prize or anything but it gives anyone a chance to show off what they are working on. We send out a common dataset for everyone to work from and that is basically the only constraint. We also try to find different people to present each time and solicit requests for topics people want to hear more on. Hope some of these ideas help.

                      • 8. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?

                        I would also consider, if possible, getting a Tableau product consultant on site to go through a demo. They do an amazing job of showcasing the value-add of Tableau. Their story boils down to "Hey, a lot of BI tools can produce a bar chart/line chart/etc. But Tableau does it quicker, and also empowers the end user to go a step further either through table calcs, interactivity (filters/parameters/actions)"


                        Best of luck.

                        • 9. Re: How do you start a company internal Tableau User Group?
                          Amanda Boyle

                          Thanks Jonathan Drummey et all for the thoughtful replies!


                          Hi John Thompson! I think the tips and notes above should have you covered, but please feel free to reach out to Jordan Scott or I with any additional questions and please keep us posted on how your internal user group is going