Organizing an Enterprise session for your TUG
Since we (re-)started the Netherlands Tableau User Group in 2017 we’ve noticed that there are a few distinct groups in the people coming to these events. In one group there are the individual analysts who like some topics about dashboard best practices and how to do better analytics. Another group contains the people who are involved with enabling Tableau in their organization. They are interested in topics such as Server management, managing permissions, setting up internal user groups, etc.
In the regular user group sessions, we try to strike a balance of topics to make sure we cater to both groups, but over time we realized it would be a nice addition to have a smaller user group session organized for just the Tableau Enterprise enablers. In these sessions we could go deeper into those topics and share best practices on how to enable Tableau at an Enterprise level.
Around April 2018 we had the first conversations with a plan to host a first events in June. We had a location arranged for 20 attendees and had prepared some topics that we would like to discuss. There seemed to be some interest, with 15 people signing up initially, but unfortunately we had a lot of last-minute cancellations and with only 6 people remaining we decided to cancel the event and reschedule to a later date. When we tried again a few weeks later, we had a similar experience and had to cancel the event again. Not a great start for this initiative…
Fortunately we got back on track again when we discussed this Enterprise session with our TUG leadership team in December 2018 and we decided to try one more time for an event in February 2019. In the regular TUG we organized in December we already had had two topics around enterprise enablement and we got a lot of great feedback to those. To give it a good chance for success, we decided to change some parts of our approach:
- Invite some people we had got to know through the user group meetings personally
- Ask for interested people through our social media channels
- Take the people from 1. and 2. and send them a date picker to find the ideal date in February to hold the event
By engaging people far in advance and checking which date works best for them, we were able to find a good date where we knew a big enough core group would attend. We then had some small scale promotion (we only had 30 seats for this event, so we didn’t want to have it blow out of proportions) and in the end we had a good attendance with almost 30 people joining.
Format of the event
For the event itself, we wanted it to be more about sharing experiences than just showing up to listen to a few talks. As such, we structured it as follows:
- the total length of the event was 2 hours
- we had 3 topics
- there was a 10 minute introduction to each topic by a member of the community sharing their experience
- after the introduction, there was 30 minutes of group discussion with the whole group
With the discussion after each introduction it was quite important to moderate a bit and avoid turning it into a Q&A with the presenter. We had debated about using a break-out discussion format instead of a group discussion, but for this first event we wanted to make sure everyone would be part of the same conversation and not miss any key learnings that were shared.
From some people we got feedback after the event that they would have liked a break-out session to get a bit more interactivity, others liked the group discussion. Everyone agreed that a short presentation to kick-off a new topics is valuable. Having three topics also seems a be good to allow for enough conversation without dragging on forever.
The topics we had for our first event were:
- Data governance with Tableau permissions
- Sharing data with external partners using Tableau
- Training Tableau
There was a good response to each of these topics with other attendees also sharing some of the experiences and asking how to solve certain challenges. Some other topics that were suggested for future events were:
- How to start a Tableau Center of Excellence
- A ‘what’s your favorite learning of last year’ roundtable
- Examples of business challenges and the dashboards that were used to solve them
- Bridging the gap between IT and business
- Best practices in standardization of reporting / brand templates
- Monitoring and improving Tableau Server performances
After almost a year of build-up, the first enterprise enablement event for our Tableau User group was a great success. We got a lot of very positive feedback from the attendees and everyone keeps asking when the next event will be hosted. It’s a great addition to our regular user group meetings throughout the year as it gives some space to geek out about some of these topics that some of us are working on daily.
To summarize a few tips on setting up your own event:
- Test out the appetite for enterprise enablement topics by having one or two talks on these topics during your regular TUG meetings
- Try to identify a core group of interested attendees and schedule a date with them
- Having a quick introduction to a topic can help kickstart the discussion afterwards
- Depending on the size of your group, break-out discussions might facilitate better engagement than a whole group discussion
If you have any further questions on how we organized this event, please don't hesitate to reach out: email@example.com
The Netherlands TUG leadership team
Eugenia, Marleen, Angelina and Jim