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What’s next for Tableau: From expansion to industry trends

Key takeaways from Tableau Conference 2019

Jan. 7, 2020 | A Q&A with Ben Flock, Kevin Turner and Ryan Wagner

3D illustration of internet connections in cloud computing

That’s a wrap for the 2019 Tableau Conference! Over 20,000 people from various sectors and organization sizes came together in Las Vegas to ramp up data skills and leave with renewed momentum. Whether you were able to join the informative four days of sessions and keynotes or not, here are a few takeaways we gathered from the conference.

Tableau evolves as a platform

Invigorated by the growth of one of the biggest data communities, Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky kicked off the 12th annual Tableau Conference with some of the platform’s newest key features and functions, such as data processing tools, augmented analytics with AI, and features that further enable personalization and deeper data interaction.

Kevin Turner, Business Development: State and Local Government and Higher Education: With the somewhat recent announcement of Tableau’s acquisition by Salesforce, we were hearing a lot of buzz around: What does this mean for Tableau? What does this mean for us in terms of how we’ll work with Tableau? Salesforce Chairman, Founder and Co-CEO Marc Benioff joined the conversation to discuss the parallels between Salesforce and Tableau’s core values and communities. I think this will continue to be a topic of conversation for both Salesforce and Tableau users well into 2020.

Ben Flock, Chief Healthcare Strategist: Another major component from the conference was the notion of the Blueprint and enterprise platform investment. The common theme and the need for governance and change management was really articulated throughout many of the sessions and applied in various ways. It was a lot of the messaging for the conference. They’re pushing out so many new features and functions to show how things can organically grow and evolve from a business-level tool to an enterprise platform—but in order to fully leverage the platform in that way you need to have a strategy around governance and change management.

Ryan Wagner, Tableau Alliance Manager: I totally agree—customers need to have a plan for their analytics. While having a really good analytics platform is important—you need change management, an analytics strategy, executive advocacy and the governance to be able to really scale beyond a business-level deployment. The one thing I would also add is that Tableau is expanding their focus to not just be a reporting and analytics tool, but also to help people with data management and data cataloging. It goes beyond easy-to-consume dashboards to provide an enterprise-level view of data. Cataloging allows you to understand where your data is being used and enabling more people with the power of good data.

Tableau case studies in healthcare, government

Turner: As society continues to change, there are more effective tools for expressing and sharing information today than ever before. From a government perspective, we’re noticing that people want more transparency into the data and want to share and interact with information in a way they find meaningful. In one presentation by the U.S. Census Bureau, they discussed how they plan to enable individuals to self-report census data by employing some self-service features utilizing Tableau.

Flock: From a healthcare perspective, companies are looking at massive amounts of real-world, clinical trial data to drive innovative care. I heard Takeda Pharmaceuticals discuss how they use Tableau to comb through clinical trial data anomalies associated with individuals to remove them from their studies, and ultimately save hundreds of millions of dollars. They set up a massive data hub using Tableau in a unique way to slice and dice data—not just to produce a simple report. Healthcare providers, payers and pharmaceutical companies are leveraging large volumes of data, identifying where there are cohorts and outliers, and using that information to discover personalized medicine and proactive care for patients.

Tableau and AWS

Wagner: Another big announcement from the event—and one that TEKsystems got to be a part of!—was Tableau and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announcing they would be expanding their partnership by launching Modern Cloud Analytics (MCA), which basically helps consumers migrate their analytics to the cloud. As TEKsystems is one of the launch partners, we’ve developed MCA-based programs to help clients migrate their data to the cloud. For me, I think this announcement sparked really exciting conversations about how we can help people invest in the program.

Ben Flock is TEKsystems’ chief healthcare strategist. He’s spent the last 30 years building innovative technology solutions that address complex business challenges in healthcare. He’s worked with Cigna, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and Travelers. Before joining TEKsystems, he spent 12 years as Microsoft’s chief healthcare evangelist.

Kevin Turner has more than 20 years of professional services, consulting and sales leadership experience in the public sector. He’s worked with leaders in higher education to improve core operations through holistic business solutions. He is particularly focused on content analytics and content alignment to academic, administrative and learning objectives.

Ryan Wagner is the alliance manager for the partnership between TEKsystems and Tableau. He helps organizations gain insights by combining people, technology and data. Additionally, he serves as the leader for our Modern Cloud Analytics initiative. Prior to joining TEKsystems, Ryan worked as a technical consultant at Tableau, where he focused on the public sector.