2 minutes with… Ryan Sleeper of Evolytics

2 mins with title2

Greetings Viz fans!

Now this is an exciting one for me. Been trying to get Ryan on board for ages. Anyway, after weeks of ever-increasing bribes he has finally cracked and gets the 2 minutes with treatment.. Enjoy.

VN: So who are you then and what do you do?

profile-picRS: Hi Paul – it was so great to meet you in person in Seattle! Thank you for having me on.I’m Ryan Sleeper, Director of Data Visualization & Analysis at Evolytics.

VN: Tell me about your org

RS: Evolytics is a full-service digital analytics consultancy in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Our team does anything and everything related to digital analytics including measurement planning, web analytics implementation, testing, and optimization. I come in at the end and help the team and clients understand the data, primarily by using Tableau to help illustrate the stories in the data.

VN: How do you personally use Tableau?

RS: At work, a typical project begins with me using Tableau to do ‘discovery’ analytics. This is the phase where I don’t necessarily know what I am looking for and I am just digging in the data looking for insights related to a client’s business question. Most of this will not be seen by anybody but me. Once I have found the insights / indicators that can be used to measure the success of a client’s objective, the project moves to more of a ‘descriptive’ analytics task, where I create dashboards that help monitor our progress to goals. Occasionally, I also get the opportunity to create self-serve reporting for clients. These are essentially apps that end users can interact with to find their own stories in the data. This is more in-depth than a dashboard, but does not require the client to build anything themselves. I enjoy the challenge of designing these interactive reports with user experience in mind.

In my personal life, I enjoy trying to answer sports questions that I am curious about and sharing the results using Tableau Public.

VN: What has the impact been on your business?

RS: As a full-service analytics company, we’ve always offered reporting and analysis services, but before Tableau, they were more of an included, ‘value-add’ service. Tableau adds so much value to our reporting and analysis to the point where we can now have engagements specifically for Tableau, whether it be training or reporting via Tableau Server.

Tableau has also helped us provide better insights for our clients by reducing the time it takes us to find them.

VN: You have been an outspoken proponent of Tableau Public – what do you like most about it?

RS: I simply would not be as far along as I am without Tableau Public. Much fewer community connections, no Iron Viz, no guest posts at Tableau, probably no Kansas City Tableau User Group, and the list goes on. Tableau Public is my sandbox for developing new Tableau skills that I may not necessarily have the time to risk trying at work. Tableau Public also has a built in community that is there to provide feedback, help answer questions, and encourage you to keep working at it.

VN: What does the Tableau community mean to you and who do you learn from?

RS: I am constantly amazed by the Tableau community’s willingness to help each other. The Tableau community has played a huge role in my personal Tableau development, and not only have they taught me a great deal, but they’ve inspired me to pay it forward whenever I have the chance.

There are too many in the community to name, but I am inspired every single day by the effort, art, and selflessness that the community puts out. I look at nearly every single Viz of the Day and keep up with several blogs, including this one. Chances are if you’ve had a Viz of the Day or been on 2 Minutes, I have learned something from you.

If I had to pick one viz ‘mentor’, it would be Ben Jones of Tableau and dataremixed.com. Ben really pushed me to share my content and keep innovating when I was just getting started on Tableau Public. I also feel like I grew up in my Tableau life with Anya A’Hearn, Kelly Martin, and Ramon Martinez, all of whom I co-presented with during my first Tableau Conference presentation in 2013 and whose work I have studied for a long time.

VN: You’re a fellow TUG leader. Have you got any tips for running a successful TUG?

RS: The KC TUG is relatively new, just now closing in our one-year anniversary, but I have learned a few things so far. My biggest tip is to keep the content non-intimidating for beginners. I have found that at least half of our attendees are just getting started with Tableau and even just evaluating whether or not they want to use Tableau. I recommend including at least one lesson at each of your meetings that your entire audience can feel like they can begin using on their own as soon as they get back to the office.

VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?

RS: My wife and I really prioritize travel / experiencing different cultures in our lives, and while I am mainly an American football / basketball / baseball guy, I collect soccer (football) scarves from each country I visit. So this year’s Tableau Conference speaker gift, a #Data14 scarf in Seattle’s trademark navy and green, literally could not have been better for me. Some of my favorite scarves include FC Barcelona, Wellington Phoenix, and Morocco’s national team – who I saw at the 1994 World Cup as a boy in 1994. I’ll also be in your neck of the woods in May to pick up my first Premier League scarf.

Awesome stuff thanks a lot Ryan. Don’t forget to give me a shout when you’re over in May – I’ll round up some London data folks and we can show you around.

Until next time… Cheers, Paul

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2 minutes with… Matt Lutton of Goodwill Education Initiatives

2 mins with title2

VN: So who are you then and what do you do?

mattName is Matt Lutton – I am located in Indianapolis, IN, and am working as a BI Analyst with Goodwill Education Initiatives and INIschools. I use Tableau in some shape or form, on a daily basis.

VN: Tell me about your organization

ML: Goodwill Education Initiatives is a not-for-profit organization formed by Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc. The Indiana Network of Independent Schools is a service that operates under the nonprofit designation of Goodwill Education Initiatives. The purpose of INIschools is to offer its partner or network schools a host of high-quality services that enable school administrators to improve cost efficiency and student achievement. This, in turn, helps its network schools achieve sustainability and improve academic performance.

I build and publish Tableau Desktop dashboards for a number of K-12 schools, utilizing Tableau Server for distribution.

VN: How did you start using Tableau? And how are you using it now?

ML: I was a Computer/Technology teacher in the Indianapolis area, and also worked in IT support in my previous positions as an educator. GEI had an opportunity for a BI Analyst utilizing Tableau Software, and I applied, interviewed, got the job and BAM — I needed to learn a new tool, very quickly. That is how I got started.

Today, I am using Tableau Desktop to generate more complex dashboards, often using multiple data sources, to tell stories, discover interesting finds in the data I work with, and offer dashboards that communicate data clearly to our users. The type of data we are working with includes many of the things you’d find in a typical SIS (Student Information System): Attendance Records, Gradebooks, Credits Earned, Graduates, Enrollments, Demographics, Term Reviews, Weekly Student and Teacher Productivity, etc. Our work focuses on three main levels of dashboard access: Teachers, Guidance Counselors, and Administrators.

In my spare time, I use Tableau to help others learn about the tool, by participating heavily on the Tableau Forums. I hope to spend more time over the next year creating more interesting visualizations to share with the Tableau community at large.

VN: Who do you learn from in the Tableau community?

ML: Everyone and anyone who participates! I’ve learned a great deal by following the work (and blog posts) of awesome folks like Jonathan Drummey, Noah Salvaterra, Joe Mako, Andy Kriebel, Joshua Milligan, and I love your IT take on things as well.

hansI learn regularly from many other folks on the Tableau Forums, as well, including (but not limited to) Shawn Wallwork, Ville Tyrväinen, Jim Wahl, Toby Erkson, Patrick Van Der Hyde, Russell Christopher, and many, many more I am sure I am forgetting. I’d love to thank the entire generous community of Tableau users now: thank you all!

VN: You do tons of work on the Tableau forums. What makes you so keen to help others?

ML: I guess this goes back to what I set out to do when I was a undergrad – teach. Regardless of what I am doing, I want teaching and learning to be a large part of my life. But to be completely honest, the Forums really have helped fulfill two main purposes for me: helping others is one; but learning from others is equally important to me. The other part of using the Forums is it can be a lot of fun, and it allows you to get outside of yourself and put yourself in someone else’s shoes – I like that, and I have often said that it is a welcome distraction for me, at times.

VN: You’ve only recently entrenched yourself Tableau community, particularly outside the Forums. What are your early impressions?

ML: Looking back, I joined the Tableau Forums on May 21, 2013 – and have been active within that small subset of the Tableau Community ever since. I quickly found that there were VERY knowledgeable members that were not only extremely bright and adept with Tableau, but also extremely generous and gracious with their time and expertise. My early impressions have been solidified as I have continued to learn and grow – the Tableau Community is amazing, and I have never experienced a user-community quite like it.

TC14 really opened my eyes to the larger community around Tableau. I hope to connect with more users, and share what I can – and continue to learn from folks inside and outside the Forums.

VN: You got the honour of being named a Zen Master this year. What does that mean to you?

ML: It means a lot to me, personally, and it has helped push me toward continuing to learn and teach others in the community. Tableau says a Zen Master must demonstrate three competencies: Master, Teacher, and Collaborator. I believe my involvement on the Tableau Community Forums was likely the most important factor in being part of this year’s group

I certainly feel I have a lot to learn before I can really call myself a “master” of Tableau. The title has pushed me to try and live up to the example set by others. I am looking for more opportunities to collaborate with other users in the community, and certainly hope to continue learning new ways to teach concepts within Tableau to others.

Aside from all that, being named a Zen Master means that Tableau sees value in what I have done with their products, and their confidence in me has helped boost my own confidence in myself. Thank you, Tableau!

The one thing being a ZM does NOT signify is expertise across the entire product line. No one ZM knows everything about Tableau, although there are several who I feel are pretty close… but I think we all agree as a group that the largest myth around being a ZM is that you are suddenly an expert on everything Tableau. We all have various skill sets, and utilize them in different ways. Some of us use Tableau Server, and some do not. Some of us write SQL daily, and others do not. So, if you’re reading this, just be aware that we do not know everything – and I certainly feel as if I have a lot of catching up to do, particularly in terms of choosing a proper path to a solution in Tableau.

VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?

guitarML: I love guitars. I have a small, but interesting, repertoire of gear.

 

 

 

That’s awesome, thanks Matt. Took way longer than 2 minutes but that’s a good thing!

See you soon for more 2 (ish) minutes with…

Paul

2 minutes with… Anya A’Hearn of Datablick

2 mins with title2

Hello!

Man I’m busy. Got 2 presentations to prepare for the Tableau Conference in Seattle, another couple later in the year and a ton of eager Tableau users to satisfy at work. Oh and I’m trying to move house as well. All a bit chaotic at the moment. Probably explains my lack of Tableau public vizzes recently..

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 22.18.47At least I’ve had the pleasure of a chat with the one and only Anya A’Hearn of Datablick. Most of you probably know her stuff, cos she’s flippin ace. That’s all there is to it.

On with the show…

VN: So who are you then and what do you do?

AA: Anya A’Hearn, Data Viz Consultant @DataBlick.

VN: Tell me about your org

AA:   DataBlick is a boutique Tableau consulting firm in San Francisco with clients including a leading global payments technology company, as well as clients focusing on marketing attribution, education, and mobile communication.  

VN: How do you use Tableau?

AA:  How do I not use Tableau?… I think I am a certified junkie at this point :-).  I have been in the BI space for over 20 years and have enjoyed watching the space and tools evolve.  I have a background in Economics and Product Design, so when I first saw Tableau, it just magically clicked.  Tableau allows me rapidly prototype, build, and deploy data products that people delight in using and interacting with.  Watching a user be able to see data that is useful to them, and light up instantly with an “ah ha!” is amazingly rewarding.  While it is not always the right tool, when it is – the impact is phenomenal.

VN: What has the impact been on your business?

AA:  At this point, doing Tableau work pretty much is my business.  There is currently a such a huge demand for developing Tableau dashboards and reports, that has become the main tool I use.

VN: Who do you learn from in the Tableau community?

AA:  I don’t know many other BI tools that have such an amazing community, especially the folks who respond to forum questions and post amazing how to’s like Joe Mako, Jonathan Drummey and Noah Salvaterra.   I also am inspired by the very talented folks who post to Tableau Public and constantly come up with new ways to use Tableau like Allan Walker and his mapping work.  I am lucky to live in the Bay Area and our user group meetings are like a Who’s Who of Tableau.  I have reached out to so many folks with questions, and the response was always helpful, mindful, and supportive.   If you love the work of someone in that you see, reach out to them with well formulated questions and examples, and you are sure to get a response that will lead you on the right path.  I have been inspired by so many and continue to be inspired by all the ways that users bend Tableau to do what they need to do.  Not all of it may be data viz best practices, but the sheer will to push the boundaries of what is possible is the most inspiring.

VN: In your opinion what should we be mindful of in the BI space going forward?

AA:  I would love to see BI tools focus on more access to unstructured data, data via API’s, and live data feeds.  I talk to data scientists and data viz designers that are just starting out and they are like “Ewwww, SQL?  I have to actually learn that?”  I might as well be talking about learning to Waltz as far as they are concerned.

VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?

156425_10151201203844518_598573279_nAA:  Well when I am not working, I am playing with Tableau (my Public Viz’s), enjoying my kids, baking really delicious cookies, cheering for my SF Giants, or volunteering by contributing data viz work to non-profit organizations.  You have a new Data Viz Super Power!  Go use it for good!

Awesome stuff, thanks to Anya for sparing the time to chat. I’m looking forward to our joint session at Data14. Should be fun.

Until next time, Paul

2 minutes with… Chris Love of The Information Lab

2 mins with title2

Good day Tablites! I trust I find you well this morning? And if I don’t then go and play with 8.1’s DATEPARSE function, for it will bring you great joy.

It’s that time again, where we open the brown envelopes and decide, based on size and quality of bribe, who will be the next subject of the internet’s premier interview show. And this month’s deep pockets belong to..

Chris Love (@ChrisLuv) of The Information Lab

Chris-Love-300x300Chris has appeared on the blogging and social scene relatively recently but has already made a name for himself with some great analysis and comment. He’s also a big help to us here at ninja towers. Plus he bought the beers the last time we met up. He’s recently joined the fine folks at The Information Lab as an Alteryx expert, giving this 2 minutes with a more Alteryx flavour. As a side note we also love Chris’s photography and hope to pick up some tips.

VizNinja (VN): Good morning, how are you?

CL: I’m doing good, my first few days in my new role at The Information Lab have been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest so it’s nice to take a break and chat to you.

VN: So who are you then and what do you do?

CL: I’m Chris Love, an Alteryx\Tableau Consultant at The Information Lab, Tableau EMEA Partner of the Year. I’m also the current Alteryx Grand Prix Champion.

VN: People may not have heard of Alteryx, can you quickly explain what it is? and what does being the Grand Prix Champion mean?

CL: It’s hard to pigeon-hole Alteryx, it’s essentially a visual BI tool that can be used for everything quick data processes, e.g. data reshaping, through to geospatial processing like “Find Nearest” and “Point in Polygon”; it’s also got a fantastic reputation as an Analytics tool. I’ve been using it for 8 years now and I’m looking forward to showing what it can do to a wider audience through The Information Lab.

59As far as the Grand Prix goes, every year Alteryx hold an event at their conference where ten of the best Alteryx users in the world compete with each other over a series of business problems. Each problem is a timed “lap” and this year the three laps took in an end to end process which involved taking raw data, reshaping it and then doing some K-means clustering before presenting a final report via pdf.

champI can’t remember my exact time but it took under half an hour in total to do the entire process and I was lucky enough to gain enough points from my laps to come top  of the leader board. It’s a unique experience, with a few hundred people cheering you on and watching your progress on big screens, and the added pressure of being in direct competition with others, it’s hard not to go to pieces and forget everything you know. I must say though that the prize of a weekend in Las Vegas and a drive in a Lamborghini at the Las Vegas Speedway made it all worth it.

VN: How have you seen Alteryx make an impact on businesses?

CL: Alteryx empowers people. Ordinary business users are often hamstrung because the data they need either isn’t accessible to them because it needs specialists to extract it, or the data is available in Excel or online but is in the wrong format. Even solutions like Tableau, which are so easy to use, still require data to be formatted in a certain way before it can be used. Alteryx changes that by providing a simple drag and drop interface which allows users to use a plethora of tools to import, transform and analyse data, and the ability to share the results locally in any format or via the cloud.  I once presented to a team who wanted to automate a handful of reports – I was able to build out their solution in just two hours in the course of a demo – which sold it to them; the next time I met them they were batching over 10,000 reports daily.  I was blown away.

VN: How did you first become exposed to Tableau?

CL: I must admit I had heard of Tableau but it wasn’t until Alteryx added the capability to write to .tde format that I became fully aware of it. As soon downloaded a trial then I knew I had something that complimented Alteryx perfectly, so I made it my mission to get myself a copy, which I managed, and I started learning it in my spare time using resources like the Tableau community, Blogs and Tableau Public. With Alteryx to help me format data I found I was able to build Tableau dashboards quickly and easily because I didn’t need to worry about blending and formatting in Tableau itself, and the spatial elements I was able to add through Alteryx received fantastic feedback from even seasoned Tableau professionals – which only encouraged me further.

VN: In your opinion what should we be mindful of in the BI space going forward?

CL: As Spiderman was warned “With great power comes great responsibility”. BI is changing, business users are being empowered but with that comes a sense of responsibility otherwise there will be a backlash from IT. As more users get the tools to build data and analytical processes then users, and software vendors themselves, have a responsibility to ensure that the answers that come out of those processes are still meaningful and useful. If I can build a regression model without any code then does it mean I should? It depends, for example, on whether I understand what overfitting is.

VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?

65254_452448238166366_1734509599_nCL: I’m a keen photographer, I don’t get out as often as I should but when I do I have achieved some pleasing results – I even had some luck displaying my photos in exhibitions and have even sold photographs to America. Have a look at my site.

VN: Thanks for your time, see you soon.

CL: No problem, anytime.

That’s it for this episode. Tune in next time for more adventures in BI. Ping me @paulbanoub if you fancy participating in a future episode.

Regards, Paul

5 Top Tableau Time Saving Tips

Top Tips

Hello everyone. Time for a new series on VizNinja. I’m calling it Triple T – Tableau Top Tips.

This is where I list my favourite useful Tableau features. They may be well-known already, or maybe even not so – let me know if you find any of the tips helpful. I’m going to hopefully open this up to Alteryx also as I get more familiar with that tool.

I wasn’t going to post these as I thought that hey – everyone knows these as they’re so obvious and simple. And then the first person I spoke to about Revert to Saved had no idea it existed. So if you think these are all dead obvious then that’s cool, but someone out there might find them useful.

Tip 1 -“Revert to saved”

I’m a serial saver, so the Tableau & Alteryx not having autosave features isn’t a show stopper for me, although it would certainly be nice to have. I know it annoys many bloggers.

I am however, repeatedly going back to my saved workbook version. Using most applications you’d close the GUI and reload the file. With Tableau – just hit F12 and your workbook is back to the saved version.

revert

Simple, but saves me a load of mouse clicks every day.

Tip 2 – Use the repository

Another great example of the attention to detail that Tableau show is the “My Tableau Repository” that I’m sure you’re all familiar with.

My tip here is make sure you use it properly. However tempting it may be to save that workbook anywhere in the repository, ensure you stick to the naming convention. Workbooks in the workbook directory, datasources in the datasources directory. Won’t be an issue immediately if you don’t but as your usage of the tool grows you’ll thank yourself for keeping things neat and tidy.

Tip 3 – Swap Rows & Columns

As simple as it sounds. Hit CTRL-W to swap your shelves around. Hit it again to revert.

Tip 4 – Tooltip Persistence

It really annoys me how tooltips disappear after approx 8 seconds or so. I use them all the time to provide context in meetings.

If you want the tooltip to hang around, then position your mouse over either one of the command buttons or one of the actions / links on the tooltip (if present). That will stop it from clearing. When you want it to go then just move the mouse away.

Not sure if it has been resolved in later versions. I know there was an enhancement request in.

tooltipI

Tip 5 – Cell Size Hotkeys

Don’t bother fiddling around with grabbing the edges of cells with your mouse. Use these hotkeys under the “Format” menu of Tableau desktop.

cellsize

Ok that’s it for the first TTT. More to come later. Hit me with your TTT’s in the comments or @paulbanoub.

Cheers, Paul

2 minutes with… Emily Kund of National Bank

2 mins with title2

Hello!

Here we go again! And they said it would never last! They said I’d amount to nothing! And here I am with top BI talent literally fighting to get a piece of “2 minutes with” action. Woah there guys – form an orderly queue. Especially you @pgilks – you’ve already had a go remember?

This time we extend a HUGE welcome to Emily Kund (@emily1852) a National Bank Examiner at the Office of the Controller of the Currency in Washington, D.C. The opinions expressed below are those of Emily and not her employer.

Quite simply – she’s mega! Our current favourite blog is a must read

VizNinja (VN): Hi Emily, how are you?

EK: Doing well, thanks for asking!

VN: So who are you then and what do you do?

kundEK: I’m Emily Kund. By day, I’m a National Bank Examiner turned Team Leader, responsible for reporting and analysis for a subsection of financial institutions, supervised by a bureau in the federal government.  By night, I try to be an awesome mom to two wonderful, smart, crazy kids; Alex (6) and Katie (3).

VN: How did you start using Tableau? And how are you using it now?

EK: I tinkered with it a few years ago, just to see what I could do, but didn’t have any formal Tableau projects.  Then, in 2012, I used it for my first project, which is now monitored by senior management! I guess it follows the saying, go big or go home! By the way, I had help from the Tableau guy in my office…that sucker was super complicated!! Now, I rarely develop visualizations for work. My role is to provide feedback on reports and analyses that the team produces and, along with folks in my division, develop and implement a reporting and analysis strategy.

VN: How have you seen Tableau make an impact on businesses?

EK: The biggest impact I’ve personally seen is that we are now exploring the data we have collected for so long.  Because it’s fast and easy to whip up a basic workbook, we have better insight into our data.  We can start asking questions about the data and refine our process for data collection and management.  Further, it’s been pretty awesome to see data sources to come together into one workbook and provide users the ability to see what’s going on, at an aggregate and detail level.

VN: Who do you learn from in the Tableau community?

EK: You’re gonna run out of space.  There are tons of people!!! I think the ones that immediately come to mind include:

Anya A’Hearn
Andy Cotgreave 
Kelly Martin
Andy Kriebel
Matt Francis
Jonathan Drummey
Jewel Loree
Peter Gilks
Paul Banoub..you know him?
Dan Murrray
Ramon Martinez
Ben Jones

Allan Walker

EK: Even though that seems like a long list, it’s really just scratching the surface. The Tableau community really is extraordinary. And if someone isn’t on the list, my apologies, I’ll buy them a beer at the customer appreciation party!

VN: In your opinion what should we be mindful of in the BI space going forward?

EK: This is my biggest thing…I think it needs to be easier to use the data.  Because my experience has been that the data hasn’t been gifted to me in just the right way, and I’m not a data person, that including the functionality in the tools to make it easier to work with the data will be huge! Tableau is making it easier for the user to blend data.  I think that is a super important path to continue down. I’m a really big believer into turning data into information and initiatives such as easier data blending should make it easier for anyone to do just that.

VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?

kund2EK: I’m pretty random! In addition to loving makeup and reading, I enjoy a good game of (American) football!  My favorite team is the Washington Redskins, who had a terrible season this year! Hopefully they can turn it around over the next couple of years and get another Super Bowl ring at some point in the not too distant future.  A little trivia for ya…there are four teams in the NFC East (New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Dallas). Of those four, Philadelphia is the only team in the division to not win a Super Bowl! Of the other three teams, Washington has the fewest number of rings, totaling three. Oh, and I like working out–especially strength training. My most favorite exercise is the angled leg press, followed by squats, then single-leg deadlifts. Oh, and I like Wonder Woman…I have all kinds of Wonder Woman stuff in my office!

VN: Thanks for your time Emily!

EK: Thanks for having me. Hope to see you in Seattle!

Well that was a pleasure. Thanks so much to Emily for sparing the time.  Tune in next time for more words of wisdom from the BI community.

Regards, Paul

2 minutes with… David Napoli of Colorado HealthOP

2 mins with title2

Hello! I trust you’ve all had a good week so far. Time to continue our series of interviews. Hope you’re enjoying them so far. We’re staying stateside for this one and it’s my pleasure to speak to one of the more active tweeters in the BI space and someone who writes from the heart.

That man is David Napoli (@Biff_Bruise) of Colorado HealthOP in Thornton, Colorado, USA.

coloradoColorado HealthOP is Colorado’s first statewide nonprofit health insurance cooperative (CO-OP). Colorado HealthOP was established in response to the growing demand for feasible, affordable healthcare for individuals and small businesses throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

VizNinja (VN): Hi David, how are you?

IMG_2624David Napoli (DN): My alarm goes off at 4 am … that in and of itself should give you the answer. And just to be clear, tired is the answer – but I’m ready to give it my best, as always.

VN: So who are you then and what do you do?

DN: David Napoli, Dad and husband. What I do is always be present for my family and do what I can to add happiness to their lives. I just happen to assist in keeping the roof over our heads through my role as the Director of Performance Improvement and Strategic Analytics for Colorado HealthOP.

VN: How do you use Tableau at your place?

DN: As I came on board with Colorado HealthOP two months ago – mid October 2013 – and the organization itself has existed only for the better part of a year (we are a new nonprofit health insurance cooperative that was allowed for through the Affordable Care Act), analytics and the BI environment are in their infancy. Part of my new role is developing the company-wide analytics business plan and following through with the implementation of a select ‘BI suite’ of tools … of which Tableau and its data visualization/discovery/storytelling capabilities being aspects I wish to leverage to their full extent.

VN: What has the impact been on your business?

DN: I can only approach this question from the position of what I hope the impact will be to my business – and I hope that will be an improved quality of life for Coloradans, specifically the people who choose to become members in our health insurance co-op. What I envision is for Tableau to facilitate the exploration of the well-being of our members, the identification of Communities of Solution, the establishment of explanatory analytics around cost and quality transparency, and for Colorado HealthOP to become the spearhead in health care data visualization and storytelling of communities and members. That’s all. 🙂

VN: Who do you learn from in the Tableau community?

DN: Well, above everyone else, there’s this Paul fellow… 😉

I am beyond grateful for the insights that many individuals have shared and continue to share on Twitter, through their own blogs, discussions, and collective knowledge. I appreciatively stand on the shoulders of giants, and I retweet them in mass quantities to show my utmost respect – and frankly awe they have the determination to share, above and beyond their respective responsibilities. If I’m not running between work and my kiddo’s hockey and baseball practices, I don’t know where that time comes from.

VN: In your opinion what should we be mindful of in the BI space going forward?

DN: Above all else, please, PLEASE do not lose focus on the motivating reason – the purpose – of whatever the analytic/BI effort happens to be. One can get tunnel vision on specific facets of an exploratory or explanatory journey, such as the latest visualization technique – “I must do a slopegraph!” – or design – “I’ll put together a trellis-based dashboard with *100* graphs on one screen!” – but the mission of the individual/group/organization must be preserved and for whom the BI effort is performed – members, providers, and the health care community in my instance – must be encapsulated throughout every analytic undertaking. Also, slopegraphs *are* cool.

VN: Could you give me an interesting non-work fact about yourself?

DN: I am an avid road cyclist. I’ve ridden Ride the Rockies ten times since I moved to Colorado in 1996… and some day that hockey and baseball playing kiddo I mentioned above will probably trounce me up one of the climbs on that ride, and I will be the happiest person on the planet when that occurs.

VN: Thanks for your time David, see you soon.

DN: Thank you for this opportunity to share – I greatly appreciate it.

Okay that’s it for another episode. Tune in next time for more BI and Tableau adventures.  And hey – let’s be careful out there….

Regards, Paul