Creating, Reviewing, and Publishing New Dashboards

This section describes the considerations and steps to take when creating, reviewing, and publishing your Tableau dashboard to the College’s server.

Dashboard Creation:

Before you begin to create your dashboard, the following administrative requirements should be considered and fulfilled:

  • Confirm if there is an existing dashboard that:
    • Meets your visualization needs.
    • Can be modified by the dashboard creator to meet your visualization needs.
    • Can be used as a template for your new visualization.

The Tableau Governance Group maintains a list of all published and unpublished dashboards within the College. In advance of creating your own, be sure to review the existing dashboards to see if any structure, formatting, or functionality may apply to your dashboard. Additionally, Tableau maintains this public gallery of visualizations sorted by discipline that can serve to inspire your own creations.

  • Ensure you have a license to Tableau.
  • Ensure you understand how to use Tableau.

There are a number of resources available as it relates to learning the ins and outs of using the Tableau software. Tableau’s website has a host of training resources, as does Lynda.com, which is free to use for UM staff.

  • Obtain approval from you unit’s administrator to create a dashboard.
  • Consider the sensitivity of your data and contact the data stewardship team as required.

If you are uncertain whether or not your data may present a data stewardship concern, contact Andrea Bolash (aoertle@umich.edu) or Rachael Ristau (rmristau@umich.edu) in the CoE Resource Planning and Management office to confirm.

The following creative questions should also be considered:

  • What data do you want to analyze? How do you want to “slice and dice” it?

Tableau is a data visualization tool and as such, is dependent on the data source informing it. Your first step when creating a dashboard relates to the data you have and want to analyze. Thought should be given to what data you include in your analysis, how you would like to interpret it, and what questions you would like to answer with it. This will help you identify if there is anything missing from your data set too.

  • What would you like the dashboard to look like?

If you have an idea for what you would like your dashboard to look like, you are off to a great start. If not, there are plenty of options available to you. Based on your data, there are a number of different visualizations that can be applied, and it will be an iterative process to determine the final look for your dashboard. This site – Which Chart or Graph is Right for You? – is a good place to start as it relates to which visualizations lend themselves to different types of data.

  • How would you like the data source to be set up?

Your data can be linked to Tableau in multiple ways. Consideration should be given to the nature of the data source – whether it refreshes and will be updated at various intervals over time, or if it represents a one-time snapshot to visualize. Data can be sourced to Tableau through a flat file and also through a live data connection to the data warehouse (or other database solution).

Dashboard Review:

After your dashboard has been created, the following review procedures shall be followed prior to publishing:

  • Confirm that your data source is set up correctly and that the visualization operates as intended.
  • If you intend to publish your dashboard to the CoE server, you are required to share your dashboard with the following stakeholders:
    • Tableau Governance Group – will review dashboard for compliance with governance rules as well as general dashboard creation. The Tableau Governance Group can be reached at coe-tableau-governance@umich.edu. The group members are as follows:
       
      • Rachael Ristau – Chair/Team Lead
      • Andrea Bolash
      • Kelly Cormier
      • Lisa Armstrong
      • Justin Laby
      • Mike Dobmeier
         
    • Associated Data Steward – will review visualization from a data integrity perspective. The Data Stewards at CoE are as follows:
       
      • Tina Truskowski – HR Data
      • Julia Jackson – Undergraduate Student Data
      • Mike Dobmeier – Physical Space Data
      • Kim Elliot – Graduate Student Data
      • Linda Forsyth – Research Data
      • Paul Gorny – Financial Data
      • December Therrien – Development Data
         
  • It is also recommended that you get input on your dashboard from someone with subject matter expertise. A fresh set of eyes can help point out improvement opportunities in a visualization.

Publishing Your Dashboard:

Not all dashboards will be published. Many will be used internally at the department level and not shared beyond that. If you do not intend to publish your dashboard to the CoE server, the following procedure shall be followed:

  • Send an email to the Tableau Governance Group and indicate the name of your dashboard, the nature of the data included in it, and the audience it will be shared with. The Governance Group will log this information in the CoE tracking log for reference.

If you do intend to publish your visualization to the CoE server, the following procedure shall be followed:

  • Confirm you have View or Publisher access to the UM Tableau Server (dependent on the nature of your license). If you do not have access, contact the Tableau Governance Group.
  • If you have Viewer access and intend to have your publishing completed by a member of the Governance Group, email the group and share this intention along with your dashboard. The group will handle publishing and be in touch with you once complete.
  • If you have Viewer access and feel you need Publisher access (you plan on being the person posting the dashboard to the server rather than someone in the Governance Group), contact your unit’s administrator regarding obtaining a server license.
  • Once you are granted Publisher access, the following procedure shall be followed:
    • Create an MCommunity group that will include the audience members intended to view your visualization. The Tableau Governance Group coe-tableau-governance@umich.edu shall be included in this group.
    • Email ITS at 4help@umich.edu and request the following:
      • That a Project be created on the Production Server.
      • Indicate the intended name of the Project; it can be anything you wish and can hold multiple dashboards and visualizations (similar to a folder on your desktop).
      • Request the MCommunity group for your intended audience to be granted Viewer permissions to your Project.
      • Request that you be provided Publisher permissions to your Project.
    • After your Project is created by ITS, you access the Project through the UM Tableau Server and upload your dashboard to the site.