"Phenomenal" sharing, better data quality
Tableau: Where does your data come from?
India: At United Way, we have so many different places where we get data, and just a wealth of information that we could be using to inform decision making.
We have data from our programs. We have data from our collective impact movement amongst all these agencies. We have data on our engagements and how people are engaged with us, what they're getting involved with us on.
Tableau: What happened when you started viewing your data through Tableau?
India: One of the many things that's good about Tableau, about using Tableau, is sometimes you plop your data in there and you realize that some of this data is inconsistent with how it's been reported before. And so it has accidentally brought to light some of the data quality issues, which we were then able to have conversations about and improve the way we were either collecting data, the way that data was being entered, and just connect different data sources.
So, for example, one of our programs hasn't been able to see its data year-to-date since the inception of the program.
It was a pretty lengthy process to get all of their data that was coming from so many different sources into one place. It involved a lot of cleaning. But when we connected it to Tableau, we were able to show, “Here's what your numbers look like. Does this look right? And if not, what's happening? Let's figure out where the rest of that data is, what cleaning we need to do, how we're talking about these outcomes, how we're talking about how we're measuring things.”
In every single project I have done across our organization, it's brought to light some issues behind the data. That took a little bit of time to work on that and get it cleaned and make sure that it was right for doing analysis.
Tableau: Has Tableau made it easier for other people in the organization to access the reports you generate?
India: The value that I get from being able to share information to an organization has been phenomenal.
So now it's not some boring, wonky report that's sitting on someone's desk, but it's a tool that people can access on Tableau Public and just go to it whenever they want, wherever they have a computer.
That's going to get a lot more usage for people is just giving them that data in a forum that's interactive and fun to play with.
Tableau: Can you give me an example of Tableau in action?
India: I'll pull from a specific example of a non-profit poll survey that we do every single year since 2005 to gauge how our non-profits are faring in the community, other non-profits in the Bay Area.
Traditionally, we've done this survey and we've just done a report and kind of sent out that static report to the respondents or the people who we solicited. For the first time, we were able to do something that went live and went public using Tableau Story Points. We posted all the questions we would have normally put in a report with text around it to kind of help guide people through understanding it. But now people can really pull the data and use the filters and look at it by different slices of the data, if you will, and to be able to really just have that interactive with them.