Deloitte: Finding the right security model for thousands of users



With thousands of Tableau Desktop users and over 1,000 workbooks on their production server, Deloitte understands the importance of data governance. In this video, Angela Alini, Senior Manager, Insight and Innovation explains how Deloitte leverages Active Directory on Tableau Server with consumer and publisher groups—creating collaboration between business and IT.

Creating a self-service environment has many benefits, but it also has its challenges. When more people within the organization adopted Tableau, they had to make some decisions about their security model.

Today, Deloitte uses Active Directory with Tableau Server. They create consumer and publisher groups controlled by business leaders, while IT owns formal repositories. This model allows IT to feel confident about a self-service model—and business users can easily access visualizations with the click of a mouse.


Tableau: Can you tell us a little bit about your Tableau deployment at Deloitte?
Angela Alini, Senior Manager, Insight and Visualization: It's interesting, because at Deloitte, Tableau was an innovation project. It was almost a skunkworks deployment. We're like, ‘hey, let's get this out there and let's see who's going to use it.’

Tableau: How many workbooks are created around Deloitte?
Angela: As far as the amount of content that we currently have in our production server, we have a little over 420 projects currently in play on the production environment, which has resulted in over 1,000 workbooks.

One of the things when you're trying to set up a self-serve environment is you need to make decisions about the security model that you're going to set up. It needs to be robust enough to handle most situations. But it needs to be easy enough to be scalable for thousands and thousands of people.

Tableau: What data sources are you connecting to?
Angela: Currently, we're connecting to everything from SAP HANA, SQL Server, Excel spreadsheets, Salesforce. We have a lot of different databases that we play with.

Tableau: How have you established data governance at Deloitte?
Angela: One of the things when you're trying to set up a self-serve environment is you need to make decisions about the security model that you're going to set up. It needs to be robust enough to handle most situations. But it needs to be easy enough to be scalable for thousands and thousands of people.

So what we had to do was make a decision. And the decision we made is that what we call Systems Of Record. So our formal repositories, IT controls access to those. IT controls and creates the views that people access from Tableau to analyze their data.

Tableau: What is your security model?
Angela: What we do is we leverage Active Directory as our security model. We create a consumer group and a publisher group. And then what we do is that business leader takes ownership of those groups. They own those groups. They add and they delete members. And within the confines of the project folder, they add and delete content. So the publishers can publish content, they can modify it, they can delete it.

There's another group, the AD consumer group. Those are the people that actually consume the visualizations, and that's generally a much broader group.

Tableau: How has governance changed since adopting Tableau?
Angela: So now people are able to explore their data and what they traditionally would have done in an Excel model, right? Publish it up in a secure environment, and people can access it without having to have a client on their machine. They just click a link and they access Tableau Server, they interact with the visualization. The person that's published it can add some context through concepts such as storyboarding.

Tableau: How many people use Tableau at Deloitte?
Angela: Tableau has rather large footprint within Deloitte. We have a little over 5,000 desktop users. But technically, most people within the U.S. firm have access to Tableau Server. We generally have anywhere between 1,000 to 1,500 unique users that access our Tableau Server installation on a daily basis.

Deloitte has a 16-core implementation of Tableau Server. We have a development, a QA, and a production environment. Plus, we have a couple of interactor servers that we use as sandboxes.

Tableau: In your opinion, what is the power of Tableau?
Angela: I can teach a finance person how to use Tableau Desktop. It is very difficult for me to teach an IT person 20 years of finance experience. And that's the true power of using something like Tableau. We allow business users to explore their data, visualize their data, gain insight from their data.

Tableau: Do Tableau users collaborate within the organization?
Angela: Inside of Deloitte we actually have a very strong community of practice around analytics, and we have a specific community of practice dedicated to Tableau. I have a Tableau community distribution list that I send things out to, like your “five under five” tips and tricks.

What I’ve found as far as enablement is concerned, is that the best way to teach someone Tableau is to put Desktop in their hands. You give them some minimal instruction, and it is amazing what users do.



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