Podcast Series: Getting Started with Tableau, Wells Fargo

It’s about telling the story. Tableau is one of the best tools out there to create really powerful, insightful visuals.

Getting started with Tableau? Or perhaps you’re looking for ways to get your team’s skills ramped faster?

Hear for yourself what other Tableau users recommend to help accelerate your use of Tableau. This short podcast with Dana Zuber of Wells Fargo shares her tips for you to incorporate into your own use of Tableau.

Tableau: This is Elissa Fink from Tableau Software and I’m here with Dana Zuber, Vice President, Strategic Planning Manager for Wells Fargo. Dana, welcome.

Dana: Thank you, Elissa.

Tableau: Tell me a little bit about your role and responsibilities at Wells Fargo. What do you do as Strategic Planning Manager?

Dana: I have the pleasure right now of managing a team of really smart, analytics folks who help Wells Fargo make decisions around our distribution network – that is, our stores and our ATM’s.

Tableau: Cool. What kinds of things are you trying to figure out every day or on an ongoing basis? What’s your typical project assignment??

Dana: It runs the gamut, but mostly it’s around how to optimize our network. What’s the right number and what are the right places where we want to have distribution points for our customers.

Tableau: So, you have been using Tableau in some of the work that you do. Can you tell me a little bit about that? How long you’ve been using Tableau and how you’ve been using it?

Dana: Sure. I think I may have possibly been one of the very first Tableau users at Wells Fargo Bank. So, I’ve been using Tableau for around five years. My team has been using Tableau for about a year and a half. I’ve been with the group for two years. We’re using it for analytics that require great data visuals to help us tell the stories we’re trying to tell to our executive management team. But we also like to use Tableau to just make our lives easier, so that when we do one analysis it’s very, very easy to replicate it again and again and again. If we do a top level analysis for a bank-wide view, it’s then very easy for us to replicate that for specific regions that may request that analysis. So, it’s been really helpful from that perspective.

Tableau: Well, as someone who has been using Tableau for five years and yet your team has been a year and a half, what are the top three things that you would recommend to someone who’s just getting started with Tableau and data visualization and business analytics?

Dana: So, the first thing I think I would recommend to anyone is to just think of snowboarding.

Tableau: Snowboarding?

Dana: Tableau is kind of like snowboarding: there’s a ramp up time for the first two weeks… But you learn really quick. So, if you can just kind of get over that two week hump of snowboarding down the bunny hills, you’ll be doing the black diamonds really soon. Um, that would be the first thing I’d tell folks to kind of keep in mind.

The second thing would be as much as possible to use the great a la carte training that Tableau has put together for their customers. It’s fantastic. You can either call into a live training session or Tableau also has recorded training sessions that you can easily fit into folks’ schedules. So, that would be the second thing I’d encourage people to do.

The third thing – and this is the hardest thing – would be once you’re feeling pretty good and once you’ve kind of got the lay of the land, try to have the courage to get out of PowerPoint and actually leverage Tableau – dashboards, even Tableau Server to really bring your analysis into action.

Tableau: Cool. And I know you’ve had some success using Tableau in meetings. Tell me about that. How has that helped you in your meetings and in communications across Wells Fargo?

Dana: Right. I would actually use an example from a couple of years ago. In fact, when I sort of did take a presentation out of PowerPoint and I turned on Tableau and what I noticed was two-fold. We were trying to pitch an idea to build a tool which, of course, required funding to do so.

And by being able to actually demo it in a live fashion, something that I had built over the weekend, was extremely powerful. It’s sort of like the lights went off and everyone said, “Yes, here’s the money. Let me write a check for you to get this project through the pace.” So, that was the first thing.

But the second thing that was just remarkable was how the audience went from being kind of this passive, almost bored, you know – flipping through a PowerPoint deck – to actually jumping up and pointing up at the screen and saying, “Okay, well let’s drill into this. Let’s drill into that.” And I mean, to see these senior leaders become so engaged and excited about an analysis was quite remarkable, given that normally it’s a bunch of pages that folks are kind of flipping through on a PowerPoint. And when they ask a question that you haven’t got on the next page, you normally have to say something like, “You know, great question. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” And then, of course, come tomorrow, they’ve often forgot the question. So, it was great to be to have such an engaging meeting.

Tableau: Wow, that’s great – the engagement you’re seeing across all levels and especially senior levels right there in the meeting. That’s terrific.

Dana: Yes.

Tableau: And I know you’re going to be speaking at our upcoming Tableau Customer Conference in Las Vegas in October about accelerating adoption of Tableau. What are some things that are on your mind as you think about being on that panel?

Dana: So, I’m not going to give anything away and spoil it for, for those who may be attending, but what I’m hoping that my panel will do is give people sort of a manager’s perspective on Tableau and some of the challenges and successes that the companies have had in accelerating Tableau adoption. So specifically I’m going to be talking about the three things that I think are really critical to making Tableau work within your organization, but I’m also hoping we get at some of the failures that the group has had. Hopefully, it’ll be a really great discussion with the audience.

Tableau: Yes – some lessons learned. Do you want to share just one of those three things with us as a little, teaser?

Dana: Well, you know, for me, it’s all about telling the story and what I’m hoping we can do is show some of the really powerful visuals that my team put together, particularly early on in the game, to really get our leadership group on board with, with adopting Tableau within the organization. So, you know, Tableau is one of the best tools out there for creating really powerful and insightful visuals. And I’m hoping that we can showcase some of those for the group.

Tableau: Great! Thank you so much, Dana, for talking with us today. We appreciate it and we’ll see you in October in Las Vegas.

Dana: Looking forward to it.