By Elissa Fink June 28, 2009

I'm lucky. In my position, I get to talk to our customers and learn how they're using Tableau. Recently, I learned about Aspire Public Schools' license of Tableau and it inspired me.

Aspire's Director of Special Projects, Lynzi Ziegenhagen, said "Aspire Public Schools chose Tableau because it was designed with human beings in mind."

It's inspiring that Aspire made human-centered design a criteria for selecting her BI application. Design is not often an explicit requirement for software. Lynzi seems to recognize that business intelligence is about getting people to actually use information and that they're more likely to use well-designed software to get that information. Compare that to recent reports that 92% of people don't use their available BI software.

By way of background, Aspire is a not-for-profit with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Aspire is building and operating high quality public charter schools that prepare urban students for college. They are building live interactive dashboards, graphics and reports to go out to over 700 people - people including principals, deans, teachers and managers - across 25 locations.

I hope I'll have the chance to talk with Lynzi once Aspire has had time to put Tableau to full use. Fortunately, some of the Aspire team is coming to Tableau's Customer Conference next month.

You can read more about Aspire's story here. And check out the multiple YouTube videos she recorded to show colleagues how they can benefit from real-time dashboards. You can find one explaining how an analyst or administrator might use Tableau in "Students Increasing Proficiency Level Demo" and another video showing how a teacher might analyze his or her class results in "My Students State Test Performance".