This is how many of my assignments come to me. Everyone has experienced a manager or director frantically explaining what has happened and that they know they need some information, but they don't know exactly what it is. It's a lot like the old math problems in school. "If a train is running at 60 mph and there's a rabbit in Afghanistan who can run at speeds of 12 mph..." Remember how we all hated those? Who would have thought that this was how most real world problems begin.
In one of my Health jobs the director came to me with a fairly basic request to start to tackle her problem. Someone in another hospital department had published a report using data from a different source that contradicted our disease incidence and utilization stats for Calgary and Edmonton. She was heading off to a meeting with all the interested parties and asked that I look into our data to find the discrepancy and also to prepare a population profile of the two cities right away to see if there was something that may point to why this would be, if in fact the other report was accurate.
Here's an example of the type of dashboard report I prepared in Excel in a few hours. I'm using this example for my first attempt at dashboarding with Tableau Public because the data was easy to obtain from Statistics Canada and because it's a fairly standard demographic profile that every analyst does in the course of their work (at least I think it is). It's sort of Reporting 101.
Well, it didn't take much time once I figured out the buttons and options (still have some work to do with the formatting options). This is a lovely program - and I can see how in the office setting with all your data pre-setup that it could be done in a breeze. I've made the report static because of the nature of the information. Later I'll play with building interactive charts that you can play with too.