Hazards on the Road to Self-Service Analytics: Data Governance in Healthcare


Hazards on the Road to Self-Service Analytics: Data Governance in Healthcare

by John McKenzie

Welcome to the second edition of our new blog series: “Hazards on the Road to Self-Service Analytics.” A couple weeks back I introduced this series and requested our readers input to inform the topics we’d address. Well, we heard from you and we’re back with our second post about a common cited self-service analytics hazard, governance, in a common industry, Healthcare.

To talk about this hazard, we reached out to Sarah Dorfman, an InterWorks analytics architect. Fresh off of a 16-month engagement with a growing client in the healthcare sector, she’s been at InterWorks for five years and has worked in data and analytics for over a decade. Like the previous post, we decided to conduct this as an interview, which we formatted below with the bold text representing the questions and the plain text containing Sarah’s answers.

The Interview

What was a commonly encountered data preparation “hazard” you faced during this work?
During the engagement, we encountered a hazard that is very common amongst growing businesses: challenges with their analytics platform governance. By its very nature, governance increases in complexity as a company’s BI matures. It’s important to scale your governance practices as you mature. Failing to do so will leave you with, at best, a disorganized cloud or server environment or, at worst, competing data sources and a lack of faith in your BI investment.

What’s a quick story and/or some helpful hints about how an organization can address this “hazard?”
This particular client was using Tableau Cloud. Thanks to great work by their internal team, their environment grew rapidly and they were maintaining lots of dashboards for a wide range of users. InterWorks was brought in to help them continue their rapid Tableau dashboard development. Shortly after beginning work, it became clear that for the client to achieve their goals with Tableau Cloud, they would need to start by taking a step back to assess and refine their governance strategy. Fortunately, governance for Tableau Cloud is one of InterWorks’ specialties.

We started by leveraging workbook to identify and archive stale content. This effort immediately had a big payoff, freeing up 10GB of space on their site. Tableau Cloud has capacity limits, so it’s critical to occasionally audit and archive content that isn’t being used. We then trimmed and customized additional dashboards within the workbook tailored to our client’s needs around understanding content usage.

Another important, but often overlooked, consideration is naming conventions. We also spent time helping apply standard naming structures to folders, workbooks and data sources. This basic organization can be a lifesaver for complex Tableau Cloud deployments. We created specific naming conventions to distinguish development and production dashboards, helping to ensure only production content was being shown to decision makers.

Governance probably isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do in Tableau, but it is incredibly important. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to make sure your governance scales along with your BI environment. If you’d like help with governance, get in touch and we’d be more than happy to assist. And if you want more detail about governance in Tableau Cloud and more specifics around the governance solution we implemented for this client, check out this post by Madeline Cook and to learn more about Governance essentials, watch our Tableau Governance 101 webinar.

What’s Next?

We hope that this post was helpful in giving you a glimpse into a data “hazard” faced by an organization in the healthcare sector. If you want to request another look at some hazards faced in different sectors, you can fill out this anonymous survey here so we can tailor this series to you!

More About the Author

John McKenzie

Solutions Architect
Hazards on the Road to Self-Service Analytics: Data Silos in Retail Welcome to the third edition of our new blog series: Hazards on the Road to Self-Service Analytics. A couple weeks back, I introduced ...
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