Aug 18

A picture tells a thousand words

Posted: 22 August 2018

Dave-GriffithsDave Griffiths leads our workforce intelligence analysis team at Skills for Care. In his latest blog he talks about a new tool called Tableau which is now on our website and allows visitors an opportunity to easily and intuitively explore our workforce data using maps and graphs.

I’m always asking myself – is that the best way we can do it….could we do it differently?

For me, the key to good analysis work isn’t just about how robust the modelling and statistical work is in the background – equally important is how you present the outputs.

You can produce the most statistically insightful intelligence work - but if you then present it in a manner that isn’t tailored to the audience then you have achieved little.

Intelligence and data analysis should serve the purpose of providing evidence to inform decisions. Users need to be able understand the results of analytical work. If they don’t understand the outputs, then they are of no use and, at worse, misleading.

‘A picture tells a thousand words’ – that’s why we’re beginning to develop data outputs using Tableau.  We’ve just published our first one and with a few points and clicks on the map, you can access local authority level data on a range of care workforce issues.

You can view them here.  

Using Tableau is a continuation of our evolution in terms of data presentation. I remember around eight years ago looking at the outputs available from our NMDS-SC website – huge clunky excel workbooks and thinking ‘there must be a better way’.

We then developed NMDS-SC dashboards which served their purpose for a good few years. But again, the thought nagged at me that the world has moved on, so can we do it better?

We’ve had good feedback so far and would love to hear what you think – we want to put our data users at the heart of everything we produce. We’ll continue putting good stuff out there and we’ll get better at it as we use the software more.

And this blog is probably too long and wordy……maybe it would have been better in the form of a picture.