So we’ve been busy at Tableau On Tour – London. Great to see so many friendly faces and thanks to everyone who came to my talk and the London Tableau User Group.
In between sessions I managed to pin down our next
victim subject of “2 minutes with…”.
In this edition we are delighted to welcome a big supporter of VizNinja – Mr Matt Francis (@Matt_Francis).
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is a charitably funded genomic research centre located in Hinxton, nine miles south of Cambridge in the UK.
VN: Hey Matt. How are you enjoying the conference?
MF: Great. Really enjoyed your session and had a lot of fun presenting my own about Story Points. I think that’s going to be a very popular feature.
VN: So who are you then and what do you do?
MF: Matt Francis, Senior Software Developer, DNA Pipelines where I am the lead Tableau author
VN: Tell me about your org
MF: A leader in the Human Genome Project, we are now focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. Our passion for discovery drives our quest to uncover the basis of genetic and infectious disease. We aim to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens. WTSI was part of the Human Genome Project which spent 10 years decoding one human genome (3 billion letters in length) We now have single instruments that produce 100 times that data in a week.
VN: How do you use Tableau?
MF: Since Tableau arrived two years ago it has spread out from our team into pretty much every area of the WTSI. It’s now used in labs to track DNA samples as they process through our sequencing facility, in Cancer and Mouse Genetic teams to analyse experimental data. It is used to report on IT systems and our Corporate, Finance and HR systems. In fact wherever there is data Tableau seems to be there.
VN: What has the impact been on your business?
MF: The speed at which we can now produce dashboards has increased dramatically so that now, providing the data is there producing a full interactive dashboard is a dream to do. People are able to ask questions of their data and get an answer in hours rather than weeks. Tableau Server has enabled us to share dashboards across the WTSI. We have lots of tracking databases spread across different machines and Tableau allows us to blend these datasources together to present a single datasource, something we couldn’t do before without a lot of behind the scenes coding.
VN: Who do you learn from in the Tableau community?
MF: Everyone. I’ve posted in the forums many time and been helped by a huge number of people. Twitter is great for help using the #tableau hashtag you get a wealth of help. I am constantly amazed by peoples generosity with their time to help fellow users out. That’s one of the real strengths of the community.
VN: In your opinion what should we be mindful of in the BI space going forward?
MF: Tableau works because is it quick, simple and powerful. The best visualisations carry that forward so avoiding the temptation to over complicate things is really important. Tableau allows people without an IT background interrogate their data with an ease they have never had before, keeping this simple is the key to Tableaus continued success.
VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?
MF: When I’m not building vizzes I like to take photos. Mostly landscapes with the occasional portrait, I have two young models that don’t keep still.
Enjoyed that, thanks a lot Matt. Look forward to seeing more of your expert presentations at upcoming events.