Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky and a few other data leaders “busted” five different myths in the analytics world that people take for granted, but are, in fact, wrong.


“Myths are often used to explain the unexplainable. What fascinates me about myths is how they were used to influence people’s beliefs and actions. It was not always benign. The impact of myths did not end in the ancient times. we still create myths today, in the community of data”, said Adam Selipsky.


Myth number 1: Artificial Intelligence will replace the analyst. WRONG.  


There are so many myths about artificial intelligence in the world of analytics. We often hear that the AI will scan through your data and produce insights, that it will compensate the shortcoming of both human and data, but this is wrong.


“Recent studies at MIT show that algorithms can contain dangerous racial biases. There is no doubt that AI will be transformative. AI will bring big changes, it will help us automate many tasks and make many decisions, but still we need people who can contextualize data and solve problems of biased algorithms”, explained Tableau CEO.


He believes that AI will be a powerful tool for the analyst and that this is an opportunity to elevate the analysts and to enable them to use their ingenuity to work with data.


Myth 2: Data is only for analysts. WRONG.


The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. The demand for analytical skills is ever growing.


“Today, Tableau is the 3rd fastest growing technical skill. There are more than 4.500 analytics programs in the US alone, that number doubled in the past 5 years. We need more trained analysts, and that’s happening, 95% of employers say data skills are hard to find”, Selipsky explained.


He argued that data is for everyone and anyone can be trained to be an analyst.


“We talked to a lot of people that in the past would never have considered themselves data people, but now they’re experts. We need everyone to do more with data. At Tableau, we try to make that vision a reality. Our job is to make working with data intuitive.”


Myth 3: Data governance means NO.


Adam Selipsky believes that in the old BI model, governance meant frustration, slowing down the processes. Now data governance is out the window. But true data governance is about balancing the need of security and enablement.


“Data governance is all about finding the balance between protecting the data and finding value in the data.”


To bring down this myth, Sherri Benzelock, Business Analytics Transformation at Honeywell, came to aid and shared her experience with data governance.


“There is a myth that implementing Tableau induces the Wild West of Data, when in fact it only creates more options. We at Honeywell consider this myth busted. In less than 2 years we have 20.000 users. The reason for this success is being able to strike the right balance between empowering the business, enabling better visibility, but inspiring trust in the data”.


Myth Number 4: There can be one perfect source of truth. WRONG


Many people believe that there can only be one perfect source of truth, one data warehouse to house all your data, one set of data to answer all your places, one place to run all your infrastructure.


“The rate of change is so great, the innovation is so rapid, how can you predict what you’d need in the future? The reality is that we need to forget the one source of truth and embrace the many. Often analytics platforms offer powerful choices. We need to be ready for what’s coming next”, said Adam Selipsky, Tableau CEO.


He explained that this is one of the reasons Tableau continues to invest so much in all the dimensions and flexibility of choice. “It is important to look beyond the hype and to see how nimble and flexible you’ll be in the future with your analytical company”.


Myth Number 5: BI Platforms take away the power from businesses. WRONG.


Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau, said that Traditional BI platforms have usually been too complicated, time-consuming and designed for specialists.


However, he says that Tableau is taking a very different path. He is adamant that BI Platforms don’t need to take away the power from the business. On the contrary, if you’re using the right platform, it can act as an enabler.

About the author

Sebastian Stan

Sebastian is a journalist and digital strategist with years of experience in the news industry, social media, content creation and management, and digital analytics.

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