Three Years of Tableau

2022 marks the 3-year anniversary of Ohio State’s Tableau data visualization tool roll-out. (Although there was some extended pilot use and a soft roll out in 2018 for Enterprise Project purposes in key areas.) In January, the Data and Analytics team released an online survey to key university stakeholders and leadership to gather data and gain insights from the last three years of Tableau use at the university.

The purpose of this summary is to share a glimpse of respondent opinions formed over the last three years including, the benefits they expect from Tableau in the future, and the tool’s importance at Ohio State.

A total of 66% of survey respondents stated that Tableau is extremely important to the success of their unit. In addition, 100% of leaders responding to the survey indicated that Tableau skills are a major factor in making hiring decisions, as indicated by the specific feedback listed.

Why leaders value Tableau skills with new hires:

  • “The ability to communicate complex concepts is necessary for our line of work. Tableau is one tool for making that happen.”
  • “We have a need for more data literate employees.”
  • “Most business units are already currently using Tableau.”


When respondents were asked about expected future benefits from adopting Tableau, the top-5 most popular answers show how the university is coalescing around the Tableau tool.

In the next five years, which of the following benefits do you anticipate from using Tableau?

  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Additional capabilities added in Business science, machine learning or artificial intelligence
  • Increased return on data assets
  • Increased collaboration and learning


It’s also important to note that during previous surveying, the number one and number two data tools used across the university are Excel and Tableau.

Real-world Issues Drive Tableau Success

Continuing to increase the adoption of Tableau among data users at Ohio State and achieving the desired benefits previously indicated by stakeholder and leaders is feasible. Tableau usage during Ohio State’s COVID-19 response exemplifies just how much Tableau adoption rates have grown over the last three years. For more than 15 months, cross functional employees from across the university have been partnering to guide the university’s pandemic response as they funnel data and Tableau data visualizations to executive team members and the public. Data shared during this time includes metrics about everything from transmission to quarantine, isolation to vaccination, and testing.

Over the past 15 months, our COVID-19 dashboards have accumulated 1.6 million views – the majority from people outside of the university. Consumption of our COVID-19 dashboards continues to grow, as they have become a recognized and trusted source of data for students, faculty, staff, and external audiences outside the Ohio State community. On January 9, the day before Spring 2022 classes began, there were over 100,000 hits to the COVID-19 dashboards within a 24-hour period.

What’s next?

Maintaining that same extraordinary response levels for data ongoing as we did with COVID-19 reporting is not scalable with current Tableau resources. From the survey results, 60% of current developers and super users, expressed a need for more Tableau training as well as a desired wish list of additional resources.

Additional resources wish list:

  • Curated cross functional datasets
  • More training on how to connect to data in the RAE and other data sources
  • Revised current datasets to improve performance
  • Identified ways to support researchers using Tableau


These initial insights gleaned from the Tableau survey results show how both Tableau usage and the university community’s appetite for easy-to-understand real-time data has grown over three years. Stay tuned for more updates as the desired Tableau benefits and the additional resources wish list become part of goal setting and project planning for the Data and Analytics team.

If you have additional questions about the January 2022 survey or the Tableau service, please contact Jimmy Anthony and Maureen Henry.