Debbie King - May 2, 2016

Put Tableau Content in its Place

Tableau Organization Tableau Organization

I am the type of person who loves to organize just about anything and I think I'm pretty good at it.  About 15 years ago I did some organizing in my parent’s basement.  Everything ended up in a logical place, off the floor, and with a label when appropriate.  It was magnificent, except for one thing -- now, I’m the one that knows where everything is.  My parents weren't able to figure out my brilliant system.  Here’s the funny part.  Some I get calls, even today, asking where things are.

The lesson I learned is that an effective organizational system must be intuitive enough that others can find things without assistance.  The same concept holds true for organizing your Tableau Server environment to manage both permissions and content.  Here are a few tips to help make sure everybody can find what they are looking for so time isn’t wasted gaining access to new insights.

  • Establish a common language dictionary for data and business terminology.
  • Organize using Projects
    • Create a project for each business area (Events, Membership, Finance, etc.)
    • Executive Dashboard(s) should have their own project and permissions.
    • Have a project that represents a development area with restricted permissions
    • Publish all data sources to a project named “Data Sources” or something similar and public. This reduces duplication and aids permissions, especially when your association is using an open data policy.
  • Publish the fewest possible number of data sources
  • Create and add tags to help people receive accurate search results
  • Incorporate permissions into the content structure

Before you start creating projects and assigning permissions, there are a few helpful questions to ask and answer that will guide a maintainable structure.

  1. Are you going for an open data policy where there are few restrictions on access to cross functional data?
  2. Do you have security concerns across business areas? For example, is Finance data restricted by department or to only a few individuals?
  3. Is there information that must be kept confidential or restricted (e.g. donations, due to privacy or compliance concerns)
  4. Will you enable the web authoring feature?

Following these simple guidelines and taking into account special permissions and security issues will have you well on your way to implementing the perfect organizational system in Tableau Server for your association's data.

Written by Debbie King