The goal of any business analytics project is to have a positive impact on the organization.  That may come in the form of improved profit margins, higher sales, or happier clients among other potential benefits. The expectation is that if we deliver a brilliant analysis to our team, they’ll be able to make better decisions and drive better business outcomes.  However, this assumes the project’s targeted users USE THE DASHBOARD.  Problem is that many of these targeted users are not analysts by nature or job title.  Their already busy days are filled with many other responsibilities besides interpreting your dashboard.

So how do you get them to use it?  I’ve seen business leaders come at this conundrum from a number of different angles.  “Make it mandatory”  If the analysis were so great this wouldn’t be necessary.  “Monitor and report usage to create peer pressure among the team”  Also known as the shame approach.  See previous response.  “Embed the dashboard in tools they already use” Not a bad idea to keep users from having to go to multiple systems to get answers, delivering them targeted relevant insights in places they’re already used to going.  This approach comes at a cost of coordination across systems and teams and is not available to everyone.

My personal favorite is to “leverage the features of Tableau Server” to deliver insights in as few clicks as possible.  The most direct, efficient and painless approach is also the most effective one.  Tableau Server has three valuable features that help users to receive custom insights in just one click.


While effectively-designed dashboards are “personal” to the target users, not all of those users can be expected to have the exact same perspective.  They may differ in terms of region they support, product they sell, issues they address, and departments they’re responsible for.

Designing a story to address the users’ common business needs only goes part of the way to driving User Adoption.  The next step is to provide pre-filtered Views which show the users only the part of the data which is relevant to them.  Enter Custom Views in Tableau Server.

With Custom Views, a user or an administrator can filter the dashboard to show only the information which is relevant to the targeted user.  That View can be saved and a New url is generated which that user can bookmark, share with coworkers, or Subscribe to.  Even better, that Custom View can be set as the Default View so that the user will land on the pre-filtered data each time they access the View.  The Two steps to create a Custom View are provided above.  Custom Views can be deleted and edited, enabling the user flexibility to update the default View as their role changes over time.


Once a Custom View is created, users have the ability to Subscribe to it.  By Subscribing to a Saved View, users receive a periodic email in their Inbox with an image of their customized analysis reflecting the most recently refreshed data.  This approach addresses a key User Adoption hurdle which is getting users to go in to the tool to use it.

If the users like what they see in the emailed image, and feel that no further action is needed, they can simply delete the email and move on with their day.  If they spot an issue, they can click the image to be taken back into the custom View in Tableau Server for a deeper analysis.

Subscriptions to Custom Views are an effective “push” mechanism for delivering insights to users, giving them an opportunity to take further action only if they choose to do so, while simultaneously keeping the insights in the dashboard top of mind.

To create a Subscription, users simply open the Custom View then select Subscribe in the top right of the Tableau Server screen.  This brings up the Subscribe menu where users can select the Schedule, Subject line for the email, Message to be included in the body of the email, and which Users need to receive the email.  Some tips for completing these options are provided here.


Time-driven emailed Subscriptions are nice, but what if users only want to know when there’s a problem?  Time-driven Subscriptions will email an image of the analysis no matter what the results are.  With Tableau’s recently-released data-driven Alerts feature, users can set a target Threshold which will kick off an email similar to that of a Subscription, but the email will only be sent if the data in the View crosses a user-defined Threshold.


To create an Alert from an open View, users must first click on a numeric axis to indicate which data will be used for the Threshold condition.  Next click Alert in the top right of the Tableau Server screen.  This brings up a configuration window which can be used to define the Condition of ‘Above or equal to,’ ‘Below or equal to,’ or some variation of the two.  Next enter an amount for the Threshold which will trigger an email if crossed.  Custom Subject lines make the email stand out in a full Inbox.  Users are also able to define the frequency of ‘When the condition is true, send email” which ranges from ‘As often as possible’ to ‘Once-the first time it’s true’.  Just like time-driven Subscriptions, users with security rights can include Recipients beyond just themselves to notify an entire team when key Metrics go astray.

Business owners, dashboard developers and server administrators can leverage the features of Tableau Server to drive user adoption among their teams with very little added effort.  By training end users to set up Custom Views, time-driven Subscriptions, and data-driven Alerts all users can receive customized reporting delivered in only a single click.  Check out our FREE presentation for Getting the Most from Tableau Server for these and more features of Tableau Server.

For help with maximizing User Adoption of Tableau at your organization, contact us at and connect with us on Twitter.