Just a bit excited.

I’ve never been to a Tableau Conference before, after all I had barely used it for a couple of months when the 2016 London conference was held. This year, it all changes as a result of investing in the product at work, and as part of that deal I get to tag along to the Tableau London conference in June with a couple of colleagues.

My Tableau immersion has changed a bit in 2017. Ironically I get to use the tool less at work than I’d like, but I’ve started to venture out into the community by attending the (excellent) London Tableau User Group. It’s that community aspect that I’m probably most excited about in advance of the conference – it’s just great fun to meet new people, and to catch up with some increasingly familiar faces to see what’s going on in their world’s.

I’ve scanned through the itinerary and here’s a guesstimate of the sort of sessions I want to be attending. Some of this is educated guesswork, but I’m realising just how much is crammed into each day…..

Monday 5th June

  • Get to London
  • Find fellow Tableau enthusiasts to catch up with
  • #MakeoverMonday Live???
  • Welcome reception
  • Prearranged booze-up networking with Tableau partner
  • Get lost on way to hotel


Tuesday 6th June


Tableau Keynote with James Eiloart


Making Magic with Multiple Marks:

There’s no magic wand, but you can create magic with multiple marks in Tableau. Come to this session to learn the tricks data wizards use to best utilise multiple marks cards and dual axis charts to create amazing visualisations. We’ll teach you how to synchronise axes, and how to best use chart types with multiple marks. You won’t be able to help revealing these secrets to all of your colleagues.


Statistical Analysis with Tableau:
Tableau supports a number of basic statistical analysis features that can be powerful tools for understanding data. Come and learn about these basic statistical concepts in the context of Tableau, so you can understand your data! The session will also cover how Tableau’s built-in forecasting functionality really works;  why does forecasting behave the way it does? How can you change Tableau’s forecasting model? Why doesn’t your forecast work? How can you leverage R?


Keynote: What’s Next for Tableau!:
Expand the way you approach data with a look into the future. See how Tableau is building on visual analytics to bring more value to you and others within your organisation. Learn about new capabilities coming later this year from Tableau’s Chief Development Officer Andrew Beers, and find out what that means for you.

4.30pm – It’s Neil Richards time!

Collaborative Dashboard Design for Higher Education Analytics on a National Scale at HESA:
Jointly run by HESA and Jisc, Heidi Plus is a nationally coordinated HE Tableau dashboard development and delivery service which has involved 130 analysts from 70 universities in an agile development model, using datasets sourced by HESA or externally with the support of our legal, technical and support framework. The Heidi Plus deliverable has been taken up by over 2000 users across 145 universities (over 90% of the sector) and we are exploring expanding the model to other education sectors and non-education sectors. Learning and developing Tableau skills as part of the development team has offered real benefits in employee CPD. Our model’s success lies on the user story defined at the start of dashboard development, which allows us to focus throughout development on dashboards that perfectly match user requirements.


Tablueprints: A Strategic Framework for Data Visualization:
Tableau Conference On Tour London welcomes Ryan Sleeper: Tableau Zen Master (2016/17), Iron Viz Champion (2013), author of the Tableau Public Visualization of the Year (2015), and author of Practical Tableau (O’Reilly 2016). Ryan is here to share his “Tablueprints”; his process for visualizing data with Tableau. During the presentation, Ryan will discuss his strategic framework for data visualization, tangible data storytelling tips, and the behind the scenes making of one of his visualizations. Ryan will take us beyond the usual web posts and videos to give us a firm understanding for finding and sharing valuable insights in data using Tableau


Data Night Out!

Get lost on way to hotel

Wednesday 7th June


Iron Viz:
Join us for the On Tour London 2017 Iron Viz championship!


The Visual Design Tricks Behind Great Dashboards:
Do your dashboards leave you audience underwhelmed? In this session, Andy Cotgreave explains how to use effective visual design to build dashboards that are truthful, engaging, and informative. Andy will deconstruct a competition-winning dashboard, using it to highlight the design decisions being made, and bring in examples from the wider world of visual analytics. You will leave with a tool kit full of ideas–some simple, some complex–to make your work more effective.
LODs of Fun with Level of Detail Expressions:
Level of detail expressions (LOD) in Tableau have introduced an abundance of new capabilities for curious data geeks who wish to push the boundaries of Tableau. This session will demonstrate “LODs of fun” techniques, including enabling single member drill down, search across a hierarchy, one-click drill down on maps, market basket analysis, and other filter scenarios.


Join us for a 2017 Keynote address!
Mysterious! I *think* a “non-Tableau” guest speaker of some sort rocks up and gives a data viz related talk
Optimising Calculation Methods:
If it’s a mystery to you when to use a calculated field, an LOD expression, or a table calculation, this session will help you sleuth out the right answer. We’ll teach you the principles of when to apply which method to a problem. You should have basic experience in table calculations.
Understanding Tableau’s Order of Operations for Smarter Analytics:
Have you ever expected one thing but something else happened? Understanding the order of how things get done in Tableau during the execution of a visualization is critical to getting the results you expect. In this session, we will cover the order of operations for data source filters, context filters, top N filters, table calculations, trend lines, reference lines, and everything in between.

An annoyance of this time slot is that there is a session clash that I can’t work around. I really want to see Andy Cotgreave‘s presentation earlier on Wednesday, but I equally need (from a development perspective) to attend the Order of Operations session. I need to forego the Order of Operations session to watch Andy’s, so I have to attend Order of Operations on Wednesday. That means I can’t catch Rob Radburn‘s 4.00pm slot.

A concern of mine before seeing the session content was that I wouldn’t be able to persuade my employer to fork out for me to return in 2018. With hindsight, it’s clear that the content of the conference is diverse, informative and educational, so I’ll start to set the wheels in motion for 2018, as I’m pretty sure this will be an awesome three days.

In addition to all of the above, there will also be a live run of #MakeoverMonday and live broadcasting from The Tableau Wanabe Podcast! So much to look forward to, so many new people to meet and so many increasingly familiar faces to catch up with when I get there – can’t wait!