I’ve had the opportunity to work with several organizations who have used Tableau for many years. They all eventually get to a place where they need to implement some standards. This can be a real challenge when there are a lot of users who have all become set in their Tableau ways.
So Many Tableau Users
I recently worked with one of the largest sports apparel providers in the world on how to consistently achieve best practices in Tableau across multiple departments. In addition to applying design standards to their workbooks, we started analyzing which manual processes were stealing time from their users and what could potentially be automated.
When you multiply each manual process by hundreds or even thousands of users, the amount of time sunk into those processes is massive. For example, it can take a very long time to ensure your workbooks point to the right data sources before they are moved into production.
Automation with Power Tools: Desktop
As a consultant and frequent Tableau user, I always start by inspecting the data sources in the Data Source Discovery tool. It provides me with high-level statistics regarding the data sources used in the workbooks. Plus, it can quickly identify issues such as duplicate rows or excessive null values.
Next, I use the Data Source Audit tool. The audit generates a list of calculations from the workbooks and helps ensure the logic is correct. It can also build the documentation I need to easily export from the tool. Thanks to Power Tools: Desktop, the client’s organization has increased governance surrounding the auditing of data sources. I’ve seen firsthand how this tool has played a critical part in this shift.
Above: Example of the Tableau workbook export from the Data Source Discovery Tool
In addition to the Data Source Audit tool, the client also used Alteryx. Part of this process is to check terms against their data dictionary. If any terms are used in the workbook but are not used in the data dictionary, this enables them to catch those terms. If a term happens to be new, then it’s added to the dictionary. If it is not new and has been named incorrectly, it will be replaced with the dictionary’s term to maintain consistency.
Over time, this audit has played an important part in encouraging their team to make use of Tableau features, such as field captions. The client’s documentation is now more thorough as a result of storing information in their workbooks and being able to export it through Data Source Audit.
Style and Performance Standards
Another move toward standardization is in workbook styles. Since this client has built one of the most powerful consumer brands in the world, they are keen for their branding to be represented accurately in their Tableau reports. Before the production stage, the Style Management tool is used to scan all their workbooks on Server. During the scan, it checks if each formatting selection is within their style guide.
Performance is another increasingly hot topic for this client as they want to ensure each workbook has the highest possible loading times. Just like the other tools I’ve name-dropped in this article, Best Practice Analyzer is also found in Power Tools: Desktop. It has become an important benchmark in the process of moving workbooks into production for this client. It quickly indicates which items can be addressed for the biggest gains in workbook performance. There’s also enough flexibility within the tool for these best practice rules to be configured for the client’s specific needs.
Don’t just take our word for how revolutionary Power Tools can be for bringing standardization to your Tableau workbooks. Try a free trial of Power Tools: Desktop today and experience the efficiency for yourself.