The more than 180,000 citizens of Tallahassee, Florida rely on their local government for many important services. In the following videos, Business Systems Analyst David Carnes and Business Process Solution Manager Brian Scott talk about how the city is using Tableau.
In video 1 David explains how they are delighting managers at wastewater treatment plants with fast, easy insight into water quality data.
In video 2 Brian talks about how his Tableau visualizations helped utility managers better understand sewer clearing teams’ productivity—and make decisions that improved productivity by up to 30%.
Tableau: How do you work with Tableau and data?
David Carnes, Business Systems Analyst: The people I interact with the most are the managers and the field personnel. They're the ones that really want the data, and I try to give to them in a timely manner. Tableau has enabled me to build a really good relationship with the wastewater treatment managers.
Tableau: What did you first use Tableau for?
David: The very first visualization I made for them was for total nitrogen. The old way they was to look at four different charts to get daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. I put it all in one, and I also gave them trend lines and some things like that, too. And when I saw the senior manager there one day in the parking lot, he came to me, he was like, oh, this is great, I can see all of my data on the same page! So, they're really excited about what they're doing, and what we're doing there. So it's really opened up a nice connection to those folks.
Tableau: What are some other projects you’ve done with Tableau?
David: I'm very proud of many of the things I've done in Tableau. One of the most recent examples would be the dashboard I created for the phosphorous effluent that comes out of our wastewater treatment plant. We're regulated on phosphorous and total nitrogen, because those are fertilizers that can affect our aquifer and have a dramatic impact upon the Pristine Spring down in the neighboring county. So we really want to track that and keep it low.
There's a need that came up and I got the request from the wastewater treatment plant manager in the afternoon, and by midmorning the next day I had a complete dashboard for him, and I had been able to explore the data and I understood what he wanted to see.
I did version one and then they also mentioned they also were tracking weekly, monthly and yearly averages, and their limits are all lower than the daily (load ?). So I quickly hit a version two where I put sparklines across the bottom and just show here's where you are, so they could look at the daily and go, oh, we're in compliance and they could quickly see, oh wait, we're heading for noncompliance. So it was just a nice little quick turnaround.
Prior to using Tableau, the phosphorous data was show in an older tool, and they had to click through a bunch of things to see it didn't show much. It was hard to really notice the change over time. So they were quite happy when I was able to show a lot of data all in one screen of all the different time intervals.
Tableau: How has this change benefited you?
David: One of the benefits of moving this into Tableau is the fact I can automate the updates that it tracks. Before, somebody would actually get a file that was spit out automatically by a proprietary system. They would open up Excel, munge the data, save it, import it into this other tool that would create the graphs for them, and then physically move the files up to a server so we could show it on our portal. Now it's just there. They just go do it.
The managers meet on a regular basis, and they do talk amongst themselves, and it's really nice when my boss comes back to us and says, hey, Joe was talking about you guys and really getting some feedback that they're talking to him saying, hey, you know, you guys did something nice. He's doing it in front of all the managers, so they all know, and so they're all starting to go, hmm, what else can we do? So it's been very nice getting that recognition.