Tableau Community Spotlight: An Interview with Deepak Rai

deepakDeepak Rai Bio

Deepak is a seasoned Data Scientist with experience with working in scientific, business and statistical analysis environments. He has worked across multiple industries, and world-class research and development organizations, in India, Japan, and the USA. His emphasis has been on Predictive Modeling to provide analytical solutions for complex business and scientific data for Cost Containment, Process Improvement, and Optimization.

Note: Deepak and I worked together for many years at General Motors. He is one of the most gracious and hard-working guys I know. We worked in adjoining cubes and shared our discoveries about Tableau. It is my honor to interview him.


Michael: Hi Deepak. Can you tell my readers what you do at General Motors?

Deepak: Well, first of all, I am very much thankful to you, Michael (“Guruji”). It was you who introduced me to Tableau four years back at GM and I learned a lot from you during the sessions and the classes you taught during your stay at GM. Coming to your question, I would summarize that I use Tableau to do Complex Analytics and Visualizations for my Group at GM to enable them to drive decision making across the Organization.

Michael: Back when you and I were both at GM, you were first creating some pretty sophisticated reports In Excel and then migrated them to Tableau. Can you tell us what kinds of reports you were creating and how you migrated them over to Tableau?

Deepak: Yes, those used to be old times, but with Tableau, I was able to do that enormous amount of work much more efficiently and faster as well as was able to analyze large volumes of data which saved me a lot of time and efforts.

Michael: I see that you are a Data Monarch (62,364 points) on the Tableau Community Forum. Can you tell my readers how you achieved such a distinguished status?

Deepak: I started exploring the Tableau Community Forums about 3 years back when I was looking for some help on some issues and to my surprise, there were plenty of resources and the help available from individual contributors and I got many of my answers in the Community itself. That prompted me to give back to the Community, as well as to enhance my knowledge and learn from stalwarts in the community. I started contributing, particularly as I have tremendous experience working with scientific and statistical data so I can contribute a lot to complex calculations and statistics. The rest is history. I rose to the status of Data Monarch in a few months and this year was designated as Tableau Ambassador for Community Forums.


Michael: You were selected as a Tableau Ambassador earlier this year. Can you tell us how you became a Tableau Ambassador and what duties this role has?

Deepak: Tableau selects the Ambassadors annually through open public nominations and this year 564 names were submitted for nomination across the industry from all corners of the World. Sixteen people were selected as Tableau Ambassadors in four distinct branches: Social Media, Tableau User Groups, Community Forums, and Tableau Public.  I was selected as Ambassador for Tableau Community Forums. Basically, Ambassadors represent the spirit and voice of the community, teach and share, while fostering positive and supportive behavior within the community. They give credit where credit is due and help nurture inclusivity. They shine the spotlight on new voices, innovative ideas, and help Tableau team to reach more people to help them see and understand their data.

Michael: Can you tell us three of your favorite Tableau Desktop tips and tricks?

Deepak: Hmmm…There might be many of my favorites and it is difficult to say that as Tableau is such a vast software application as well as it keeps on expanding every day. However, I love working with Level of Detail (LOD) Calculations because I feel that it gives you more options and freedom to analyze data as well as it saves you from the hassle of setting up table calculations and so they are very powerful.

Then, I like working with Complex Datasets and Join Calculations, Self-Union, Self-Join, Particularly Cartesian Joins as well as Forecasting. The other areas of interest include using Python and R with Tableau for creating Visualizations and Drive Decision Making.

Michael: Now that you have attended TC18 last week in New Orleans, can you tell us your three favorite things you learned there?

Deepak: It was my first Tableau Conference and it was a great learning experience. Particularly, I am immensely impressed with the Dashboards Extensions and I feel that since now and Next Tableau Conference in Las Vegas, I envision tremendous growth in Dashboard Extensions as Tableau invites independent developers to develop whatever extension they can. Besides them, Set Actions, Transparent Vizzes, Transparent Zones, Heat Maps, Dashboard Navigation Buttons, Vector Map Tiles, Map and Layer Styles such as Satellite Views, Automatic Phone Layout, Automatic Data modeling, Multiple Table Extracts, Filtered Nested Sorting, Parameter Actions, and many Others drew my attention.

My future would include having a shot at all these new features and help others as much as I can because I try to learn something new every day.



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