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5 Takeaways from Tableau

In October, SIGMA Data Scientist, Adam Smith attended Tableau’s coveted conference in New Orleans. Today he shares his biggest takeaways:

1. Mobile is now

One theme across many conference sessions included the importance of creating dashboards that work across screen sizes: desktop, tablet, and mobile. Fortunately, Tableau has a Dashboard Layout tool that allows you to create multiple versions of the same dashboard to optimize the display on different device sizes. Coming in 2019, there will be a default mobile view so that even if a dashboard never had a mobile version created, it will automatically transform into a mobile friendly view. This not only helps with older views but can make it faster to create custom mobile dashboards for your new projects.

2. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is next

Tableau’s mission is to help people see and understand data, but when they say people, they don’t just mean data scientists and spreadsheet wizards, they mean everyone. Even if you’re the type of person who thinks pie chart sounds like a tasty snack, they want to help you. An upcoming version of Tableau will have NLP built right in. This means you can write questions in English like “What are our sales in Q3 2018?” and Tableau will return the data in the best visualization. From there you can add additional text like “in the northeast region” to filter and drill-down or adjust it with the standard Tableau tools.

3. Interactive is best

I was reminded again that we need to make sure our SIGMA dashboards are interactive, flexible, and easy to use. It’s simple to put together a few charts, add a few filters and think you have a great dashboard, but it’s important to put yourself in the end user’s shoes and see what happens when you click on a bar chart (filter actions) and think “how can I make this dashboard work for a lot of people at once (parameters)?”

Here is a dashboard SIGMA created for SIGMA. It outlines work hours for each week and identifies when it gets off balance.

Of course you want to get feedback from your end user, but they may not know how to articulate their experience when it comes to options for interactivity.  Consider giving your dashboard to a colleague who is familiar with Tableau without telling them much about it to get feedback not only about interactivity, but anything else they may notice.  Looking at a dashboard with fresh eyes can help you really make it shine.

4. Who is this dashboard for?

Amid all the deeply technical sessions that I attend, I always try to make room for at least one session on soft skills.  Last year that was Design with the user in mind.  This year I checked out Start at the beginning | Gathering requirements for dream dashboards.  The presenter had lots of great ideas for making sure you’re building what your end user really wants.  Here are my top takeaways:

  1. Find the end user – Make sure you find who will really use your dashboard. Ask them open-ended questions about what they are trying to accomplish.
  2. Do it in their style – Use colors and chart types that work well for them.
  3. 3 x 1 rule – For every three things we do for our audience, we can do one thing for ourselves.
  4. Easter eggs – Put in something that will surprise and wow the user.

5. Fun!

There are hundreds of breakout sessions at Tableau, not to mention the hands-on training, Tableau Doctor, and insightful conversations in the hallways with fellow attendees. But it’s not all work and no play for attendees.  There’s plenty of fun to be had at receptions, mixers, and happy hours, and that’s even before you check out the jazz clubs on Bourbon Street! That is all just prologue to the last night of the conference and the party with 17,000 data nerds: Data Night Out.  This year it was at the Superdome.  We ran out onto the field where the Saints play each Sunday and had a huge, nerdy party.

The Tableau Conference is a great way to stay on top of what’s new and next at Tableau.  If you weren’t able to attend, but would like to learn more, many sessions were recorded and are available for free on the Tableau Conference website. And if you’re really excited, it’s not too early to sign up for 2019 when Tableau Conference returns to Las Vegas.

Adam Smith Speaks at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference

Check out Adam Smith delivering a great presentation on “Data and Machine Learning Worth your Time and Money”. Adam gave this speech at the American Banking Association’s 2018 Bank Marketing Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on September 24th. In this video he explores such customer segmentation, customer profiling and predictive modeling. He, also, wrote this blog on the same topic.

 

 

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B2B Data 101: Our Approach to Data

Often we are asked: what makes SIGMA’s data solutions different than others’ services and platforms? Simply put, we provide the best way to display and visualize unique metrics that inform important decisions at your company. Our approach to data sets the stage for everything we do!

The way people currently talk about data can make it seem like a difficult topic to grasp. From clean data and dirty data, to smart data, big data and partner data, as well as geographic, demographic, or firmographic data. What do all these data phrases have in common? They’re not too difficult to understand, if you have the right data partner.

Our Data Process

Your company continues to collect data from your clients and prospects, yet this data is most likely “dirty” — incomplete or overloaded with duplicates and inconsistencies. At SIGMA, we use multiple methods to  “clean” your data, including ensuring each record is complete and not re-entered somewhere else. Once your data has been through the cleaning process, we enrich it further by adding third-party data sources like geographic data or partner data and statistical model scores for prioritizations that boost your data to “smart” status.

Before sharing the data with you, our top data scientists run a variety of analyses to present insights that inform and transform. These insights are more actionable than relying on a CRM or other marketing automation tools alone, and effectively point your sales team to the right clients, showing your company how to grow or alert you to clients that may be leaving. With decades of experience, our data scientists pore over your data looking for insights, opportunities, and solutions to your most-pressing problems. We demonstrate these insights via dashboards, which are fully accessible through your mobile device.

A Continuing Data Strategy

Most companies stop there, but at SIGMA we realize the untapped potential of unmeasured client and prospect data. We strategize with you to understand ways to mine future data insights from new data sources because the more clean and enriched data you collect, the more in-depth our insights become.

SIGMA’s data approach is varied and flexible, always ensuring quality data gets back to you in the form of useful insights to drive your business decisions. We will always work with you to maximize your data resources and transform your business.

For a deeper analysis of this topic, we encourage you to check out the eBook “B2B Data 101” here, or subscribe to our blog for more interesting posts related to data.