An easy decision
Due to the success of the trial, the Strategic Planning Service selected Tableau as their tool of choice and began using it in earnest. The interest from other departments meant that authorisation was granted by the university to buy 40 Tableau Server licenses and 10 Tableau Desktop licenses.
Interest was prevalent across the board. Faculty managers, HR and finance data analysts, deans, and core executive stakeholders all became involved in the trial process.
David believes a big factor in why Tableau has been so successful is down to its ease of use. David commented, “Our previous tool was very technical, which put new users off." Tableau eradicated this problem.
“Staff of all levels and abilities use Tableau, as it’s extremely intuitive. We can develop polished, good-looking solutions in a short amount of time and not have to worry about end-user training."
With a wide variety of staff now using Tableau for report creation, viewing data, and sharing with their colleagues, it wasn’t long before the wider university community showed an interest.
Within three months, such was demand, a decision needed to be made. David explains, “The widespread uptake across the university meant every business area was now wanting to use Tableau to produce reports."
With the popularity of Tableau, it was decided that an institutional licence was the only way to go. De Montfort University subsequently bought an institutional licence, so that Tableau could be made available to all of its staff.
Having been involved right from the beginning, David knew the power of Tableau. He didn’t, however, anticipate the sheer uptake from other members of the university staff.
“When we started this process, I couldn’t have imagined that we’d be in the position we are today." David continues, “To have an institutional license so quickly is fantastic. What is even more rewarding is seeing the output and enthusiasm from users across the university. It is clear Tableau has been an unmitigated success at De Montfort.”
A raft of benefits to the whole University
Tableau has benefited the Strategic Planning Service, but the software has also benefited other teams at the university. The Academic Quality Department uses Tableau to deliver information to colleagues, while the HR department uses Tableau to provide data for specific projects like Athena Swan, which recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
A number of benefits have stood out in particular:
- Engagement levels have increased: Previously, data was difficult to create due to the technical nature of the old tools. This was impacting work flow and productivity. Tableau has appealed to staff members who ordinarily had no interest in data. David explains, “From a user perspective, the reports are so responsive and visually engaging, staff seeing it are eager to use Tableau and explore what it can do for them.”
- Data mining has never been so easy: With Tableau, the Strategic Planning Service now produces information that has an impact. Results are displayed visually, so that information can be clearly understood.
“The way we now look at reports has changed, figures on a spreadsheet can be one dimensional," says David. "Tableau’s output adds real value.”
- User adoption increase weekly: Stakeholders can often be hesitant when a new solution. Time and resources can be spent delivering training and engagement methods with little or no interest. The successful uptake of Tableau at De Montfort University has largely come down to the software's intuitive design.
“Ease of use means that staff members that are traditionally not able to produce reports are completely involved” says David. "Tableau has provided flexibility for its users, benefiting all at the university. More time can now be spent on engagement with our colleagues, rather than preparing the data itself."
- Future scope: With their growing user base, David believes the potential for further Tableau use is huge. “By no means have we utilised all possibilities that Tableau offers, there’s so much more to learn.”