Over the next decade, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is spending approximately quarter of a billion GBP in tackling complex health issues and improving the livelihood of local residents.
As part of a new forward-thinking strategy, the Charity is focusing its resources on the most prominent health issues that are impacting lives in the two London boroughs, including childhood obesity.
A primary challenge for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is to identify regions in the greatest need of charitable support and allocate budget and resources accordingly. “We need to answer questions like, ‘Which are the priority locations for these projects?’ and ‘How should we pool our resources?’,” explains Rob Parker, Head of Data and Analytics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. “There’s no doubt that data plays a vital role in answering these questions."
Until recently, Rob and his team relied on traditional means to identify the areas within Lambeth and Southwark most in need of attention. “The CEO of the Charity asked me where we should begin our childhood obesity programme, so I went away and built some scatter points in Excel. This gave us some basic insight into childhood obesity across neighbourhoods, which we correlated against other measures, such as income and deprivation,” he says.
However, the drawbacks to this reliance on Excel quickly became apparent. “Once we shared this basic insight across the Charity, we quickly received follow-up questions regarding the significance of individual points in the diagram. We could just about provide this extra level of insight using Excel, but it was very slow and time-consuming,” says Rob.
Several colleagues recommended Tableau as a solution. Rob was converted immediately. “I had a play-around with the free version of Tableau on a Sunday morning, and quickly created a completely different view of the data. I could reach a scatter point and if someone asked ‘what’s that point?’, I could say ‘that’s Camberwell Green’. These immediate insights radically changed the way we work.”