Viva Las Vegas: O/g Heads to the Tableau Conference

by Ovative Group
November 1, 2017

WRITTEN BY: Rachel Rabaey, Claire Wyatt, Jenna Carlson, Richard Koopmann, Mitch Lenhard

Does what happen in Vegas truly stay in Vegas? Not when you’re at the Tableau Conference! Five O/g’ers, including two who presented during a breakout session, recently made the trek to Las Vegas for this year’s Tableau Conference. This years’ conference hosted over 14k attendees and had more than 400 breakout sessions and hands-on training opportunities. Needless to say, we were in data heaven.

Did you miss the Tableau Conference, but still want to hear about what we talked about during our breakout session? If you’re in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, you’re in luck! Join us at the Twin Cities Tableau Users Group meeting on November 9th where we’ll be giving our Tableau Conference presentation.

When we were at the conference, we only came away with enough winnings from gambling to repay our ATM fees, but we won in the learnings and “must-know” highlights department. Check out some of our favorite things from the conference below!


In each session at the conference, we are exposed to tons of examples of visualizations and dashboards. In some instances, we are seeing a new type of data visualization or a creative dashboard that gives us new ideas on how to present our clients’ data; others, we are seeing a timeseries line we have made hundreds of times over. In both instances, we glean some new ideas or sparks of creativity. There is such a wide variety of resources, tools, and ideas that can be utilized with Tableau, and at O/g, we continually challenge ourselves to look at our data in new and interesting ways.


Starting with the acquisition of a German high-performance database system in the first half of 2016, users of Tableau have been long awaiting the implementation of Hyper. Hyper promises faster extract creation and improved query performance, especially for computationally- intensive queries. At O/g, we may have summarized data outside of Tableau to improve performance for internal and external clients. We’re hoping that Hyper allows us to bring in larger data sets and allow additional drill down levels in our reporting.

Hyper is available in the 10.5 Beta version of Tableau.

Tableau Server on Linux

The O/g Data Engineering team is no stranger to benefits of Linux environments, in particular, the lower hosting costs for a Linux environment compared to an equivalent Windows machine. In addition, there are more automation opportunities that come with Linux and a third party’s tests have shown the Beta version of Tableau Server for Linux environment to be 40-60% faster when compared to a similar Windows environment.

Tableau Server for Linux is available in Beta 5.

Dashboard Design

Dashboards. The paradox of data reporting. Some executive leaders live and breathe by the dashboards provided to them while others may blow their top if you suggest presenting data in a dashboard. At the Tableau conference, we learned how finessing dashboards and acute attention to detail can drive tremendous value. We reviewed concepts and recommendations such as using grids for organizing visualizations on your dashboards, selecting the right colors and fonts, and enabling the right amount of interactivity to develop reporting with one common goal: for the largest number of people, provide the greatest degree of understanding, with the least amount of effort.

Data Visualization

Data Visualization is as much an art as it is a science. The key to good visualizations is understanding how the human brain processes information. Knowing that your brain can pull out certain “pre-attentive” attributes (position, color, size, etc.) in a matter of nano-seconds points to the power of visuals over a simple spreadsheet to tell a data story. We came back challenged to both increase the simplicity of our workbooks, while getting the end user to the data conclusion as quickly as possible.

Suffice it to say, we were geeking out the entire time.

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