EP-Nuffic: From print to online with Tableau Public

EP-Nuffic assists study-abroad students that are seeking an international education. The company produces reports on student mobility trends in the European Union. Originally, these reports were in a printed format. The company found that by the time the data was printed, it was out of date. Now, with Tableau Public, readers can access current data in interactive and engaging dashboards.

Tableau has shown me that it can be very easy to present complicated data in a visually attractive manner.

EP-Nuffic is a service center with a mission to internationalize education. The organization supports Dutch students who wish to study abroad, as well as international students travelling to the Netherlands. To promote international education initiatives, EP-Nuffic compiles data from many different government resources across the European Union.

For many years, EP-Nuffic’s “Mobility In Images” report was a valuable source of historical information on educational trends. However, tracking constantly changing trends in a print publication meant the data—once designed, laid out, and printed—was not current. Looking to provide accurate information in a timely manner, EP-Nuffic sought a way to present their complex data in an electronic format.

Tableau Public has allowed EP-Nuffic to provide timely information in a visually interesting way. In this video, Anne Lutgerink, Project Manger and Communications Advisor for EP-Nuffic, describes how the transition from print to online has addressed the existing needs of the organization and revealed where they can take their business in the future.

Tableau: What does EP-Nuffic do?
Anne Lutgerink, Project Manager and Communications Advisor: We work on internationalization in education. That means that we are constantly engaged in seeing how we can make Dutch education more international, but also how we can take Dutch education abroad.

Tableau: What version of Tableau are you using?
Anne: We use Tableau Public to give everyone access. We also don’t want to impose any restrictions on users, so we use Tableau Public and embed it in our own website.

Tableau: What tool did you use before Tableau?
Anne: We previously did not use any tool because we simply prepared a PDF publication. So a colleague collected all the data, wrote a nice piece about it, that went to the designer, and eventually a publication emerged from it. But now we actually have that whole process in one.

Tableau: Where does your data come from?
Anne: We work with 20 sources from UNESCO, OECD, DUO, CBS (Statistics Netherlands); a whole lot of organizations collect information about international students, and we try to combine all these sources in order to derive a useful report.

Tableau: Tell us more about the report you create.
Anne: Previously we issued a publication that we called ‘Mobiliteit in Beeld’ (‘Mobility in Images’) and it gave the exact numbers of how many students came to the Netherlands and how many went abroad. It was really an annual publication and it contained graphs and an analysis of all those mobility trends. The problem with it was that moment you sent that thing to the printer, it was in fact already out of date. And, you are also tied to paper and you cannot put everything in a paper publication. So what we had in mind with Tableau was that we could make something very interactive.

Tableau: How has your process changed with Tableau?
Anne: The process of making the book took several months. Now, as soon as we receive a new source, we can import it [into Tableau] and everything is adjusted [on the web site] at the same time.

Tableau: That is a big change. How is it working for you?
Anne: Working with Tableau is very enjoyable because with all the data that you put it into it you immediately start making new combinations and discover how you can design something even better.

Tableau: Has Tableau Public brought other benefits to your publication?
Anne: Yes, we have started with giving an insight into mobility statistics, but internationalization is so much more than that. So we are already investigating which subjects we can present more visually. At present it is concerned only with higher education, but primary education, secondary education - we could also give an insight into all that information with Tableau.

Tableau: What has surprised you?
Anne: Tableau has shown me personally that it can be very easy to present complicated data in a visually attractive manner. And that has helped me greatly as project leader for this project, in actually reaching the goal of the project. Making the mobility flows apparent.