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Insider Insights on the Best Practices of User Adoption

Written by Devin Nasby, Tableau Engineer at Systech

Not often do you take your car in for an oil change and leave with an entirely new vehicle. Sure, your car may not be broken, but perhaps you’re open to the idea of integrating innovative ways to make it run better, faster, and more reliably. Your mechanic offers his industry-specific experience and insight to help improve the way your car performs. The specialization of user adoption in the data analytic space is no different.

New user adoption typically consists of two types of customers: the ones starting from scratch (with absolutely no data environment set up), and those looking to build upon a pre-existing infrastructure and knowledge of their system. Both concerns boil down to the same approach: get to know the needs of your customer.

You can’t help a customer before you understand what motivates and challenges them. We may ask things like, “what’s your life like here? Your day-to-day?” to get a broader understanding of where their frustrations are. “What can we do to free up your time, to help you make the most productive and meaningful strides at your company?”

First, we typically ask for an important report — that they couldn’t go without — one of which typically costs them countless days and manhours to execute. Instead of selling them empty promises, we show them — firsthand — how much easier their life can be made through the automation of Tableau, for example. They not only witness how their daily life can be made easier, with the elimination of say 16+ hours of tedious excel work, but also how much more smoothly their business can run as a whole.

The impact is immediately noticeable. Users can spend less time generating the report, and more time analyzing and problem solving with it. They’re freed up to address building a future, instead of entertaining the rat-race of backlogged reports to consider. A successful user adoption practitioner improves the lives of their customers (sometimes at their own expense).

Outside of the more “salesy,” business-pitch approach, there is the training aspect to consider. We typically look for an individual or group of power users — one of which contains a high level of analytics expertise — and bring them in for training. For Tableau, specifically, we like to invite them in, get them connected to a data source they’re comfortable with, in an effort to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of the tool. We will show them how to do things like build custom calculations, replicate, or create existing reports and tables, and build sandbox environments for them to play in.

We teach them how to build and create their own stuff. While the ultimate goal is to migrate them off their old systems and onto tableau, they could theoretically walk away without ever opting into our services. Sure, it’s a double-edged sword even if we do manage their data to a certain capacity, but it’s a risk we’re willing to take.

User adoption is really the business of trust. Not just us, but the tool itself. It’s true that to demonstrate the true value of the system we may also inadvertently have to pull the curtain back as to how it works, but the reality is that it is also the only way to show them the true value and impact it’s able to make in their lives and businesses.

We honor a similar code of ethics to the “Golden Rule,” putting our clients in a position to be successful with or without us, with the hope that the trust build along the way will lay the foundation to a long and successful partnership down the road.


The Systech Solutions, Inc. Blog Series is designed to showcase ongoing innovations in the data and analytics space. If you have any suggestions for an upcoming article, or would like to volunteer to be interviewed, please contact Olivia Klayman at

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