Tableau Community Spotlight: An Interview with Mahfooj Khan

Mahfooj Khan Bio

Mahfooj is a Visual Analytics Manager at Beinex. Currently he’s working as a Business Consultant in one of his government clients in Doha, Qatar. He has more than 11 years of work experience, knowledge of diverse business matters such as IT, Retail, Pharmaceutical, Civil construction projects in different organizations.

He is a B.Sc graduate from University of Calcutta, West Bengal, India. Since last 3 years he has been obsessed with data visualization in Tableau. Apart from creating vizzes he loves cooking, music and sports.

Mahfooj is also a Tableau Ambassador and Data Monarch in Tableau Community. He is one of the active members and former Top 5 contributor in rolling 12 months in the forum. He has been featured as Tableau Public Author in Feb 2019. In 2018, one of his visualization featured in World Resources Institute blog post. Link is here. Learn more about Mahfooj in LinkedIn


Michael: Hello Mahfooj. You were recently named a 2019 Tableau Ambassador for Forums. Can you tell my readers a bit how you achieved this honor and how you contribute to the forums?


Mahfooj: Hi Michael, first of all thank you and Happy New Year! I’m honoured to be interviewed for your blog. Yeah! It’s really an honour to be recognized as a Tableau Ambassador. I never thought I’d ever achieved this title. I really don’t know how I achieved however, I’d loved to share my journey in the forum which I believe took me at this level.

I’ve started my Tableau journey in the beginning of 2016 and joined the community on 16th March 2016. Within a few days, I became obsessed with the forum. I was very active member and achieved the highest level (Data Monarch) within 6 months. That was one of the milestones. I loved spending my free time in community. Even after office hours I used to answer in the forum till midnight.

My contributions started getting recognition in weekly community digests which was very inspiring. One post which always inspires me initiated by one of the Tableau Zen Masters and top most contributor of all time, Mr. Shawn Wallwork. Follow the thread and check what he has mentioned in his post. That moment was one of my favourite so far. I’ve learned a lot from him.

You know, what makes me feel very happy, when a user thanks me after getting his/her answer from my solution, that moment I cannot express how I feel. Their compliments really motivates me to contribute more. There are so many active members like me who fetch their valuable time from daily work and contributing. I’d really appreciate them for making this community a great place for learning. Whatever I’m today, it’s just because of community. This is my personal experience.

“Community is the only place where we learn and teach at the same time”.

Mahfooj Khan

“Community is the only place where we learn and teach at the same time”. I always encourage people to spend some time in the forum, specially who’re new users of Tableau. I feel someday sooner or later your good works will take you at any level. 

Michael: You are a Visual Analytics Manager with Beinex. Can you tell my readers a little bit about your position at Beinex?

Mahfooj: Well I joined Beinex as a Senior Consultant 2 years back and within a year, promoted to Visual Analytics Manager, joining Beinex was one of the best decisions in my career.

If you see in today’s world every activity leaves a data footprint that can be captured and analyzed. Beinex’s mission is to transform the way individuals and organizations work with the data through innovation and experience. We provide a broad range of robust and scalable business intelligence and analytics services to drive effective decision-making and create business value.

We’re the first Tableau gold partner in the Middle East and Africa region and award winner of 2017 EMEA Rising Star from Tableau. We also retain our title as the largest Tableau partner in this region in terms of revenue and the number of certified consultants. Our experts have more than two decades of collective experience in helping organizations transform audit and risk management. We use data analytics and enterprise-grade technologies that solve real world problems by making data a competitive advantage.

In my current project I’m working as a Business Consultant in one of our government clients from Doha, Qatar. The digital engagement include designing and developing dashboards using Tableau on civil construction projects (Infrastructure and Assets Affairs) running around the Qatar. One of my key activities is to analyze and interpret data to unearth weaknesses and problems, and comprehend the causes. Dashboards are mainly focused on Cost, Schedule, Risks, Health and Safety issues considering all phases of a construction project life cycle.

Initially it was a tough time to understand the business. It took a few months to gather the knowledge and understand civil works. Adoption rate in terms of data visualization and analytics is very low. I have conducted data visualization awareness sessions for each department and given training on Tableau and data visualization to 25 people including Planning Engineers, Cost Engineers and reporting managers. It was an amazing experience. Last year in Nov 2019 we organized a Tableau seminar in Qatar powered by Tableau for all our clients and it was very successful.

Michael: Can you tell me three of your favourite Tableau Desktop tips and tricks?

Mahfooj: There are so many however:

My first tip, which I’ve used at my work most of the time. I love playing with GIS spatial data. Our client has their own WMS server. Joining spatial data with project progress data is a fun exercise. Recent release on mapping (Vector Map) is absolutely fantastic, now we don’t have to call the WMS services from different server in the dashboard for satellite map as a background layer. Now it’s readily available in the map layer background option. Client loves the latest map features like Outdoor and Satellite the most. It’s a cool feature.

My Second tip is very interesting, usually no one does that but I use it every time. Being an active user in the forum, if any user provides a sample data in spreadsheet then I don’t follow the fundamental steps to create a connection in Tableau, I directly copy the data and paste in canvas using clipboard to create a connection so that I can quickly jump to fix the calculations to solve their questions. It saves time and with the help of that I managed to answer faster.

Last but not the least, you’ll find one common thing in my vizzes white space using padding and floating objects. Padding is preferable because you don’t need to add any additional objects on your dashboard, like previously we were using Blanks or Text Boxes for adding space among objects. Floating gives flexibility to place your objects at any place in your dashboard. It helps you to create neat and clean dashboard.


Michael: You live in Doha, Qatar. In 2011, Fortune Magazine named it one of the best new cities for business. Can you tell my readers what makes Doha so special?

Mahfooj: Qatar, one of the smallest nations by size and area in the world, punches well on the world map because of its incredibly diverse population. Every day, thousands of job seekers and travelers from every corner of the globe flock to this Arab nation. With an aim to become the most open nation in the Gulf, Qatar’s Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al Thani, in 2017, introduced free 96-hour transit visa for all nationalities and on-arrival visa for people of 80 countries. These developments demonstrate that Qatar is committed to becoming a well-maintained sanctuary for its enormous expatriate population. The country now has the highest per capita gross domestic product in the world. It is also one of the safest countries in the world for tourists and boasts the true wonders of hospitality that Arabs are so well known for.

A nation filled with fascinating culture, other-worldly landscapes and remarkable architecture, Qatar is a place that needs to be seen to be believed. Tourist facilities are being created almost daily, especially in Doha, the capital city of the peninsula nation. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will further increase the development towards tourism. For the event Qatar is constructing new stadiums for the FIFA World Cup. Out of 8, two stadiums are now operational. Al Janoub Stadium is very near to my house. If you want to explore the design of the stadiums then I’ve a dashboard on stadiums of FIFA 2022. Take a look.


In my opinion some of the best things to do in Doha:

Souq Waqif is one of Doha must-see attractions, popular among gourmets as well as history buffs. This is a perfect place where you can taste, smell and experience tradition through the merchant’s produce, perfumes and stunning surrounding architecture. The ambiance of the Souq is a mix of modern and traditional.

The Museum of Islamic Art is considered to be the most important cultural landmark in Qatar, and rightfully so, as the museum presents Islamic art from three continents over a span of 1400 years. Inside its walls it keeps some of the oldest and most treasured artifacts from all over the Middle East. Art lovers will attest that this museum is one of the best things to see in Doha!

The Katara Cultural Village is also known as the Valley of Cultures and is the number one place to visit for all thespians, art and architecture enthusiasts, as well as for people passionate about learning other traditions.

The Villagio Mall clearly stands out as something unique when compared to the other Doha shopping malls, and it is one of the most impressive architectural feats in Qatar. The mall is spectacularly designed with a creative ambiance that makes you feel as if you’re somewhere in Venice.

Michael: What do you feel is missing from Tableau Desktop? What features would be on your wish list to see added to the application?

Mahfooj: In recent releases of Tableau applications we’ve witnessed more than 200 new features in 2019. Some of powerful features which I feel are a game changer like explain data, set actions, parameter action, ask data and vector map. Many more to come this year, thanks to our Tableau Dev team who are working day and night to incorporate advanced feature to make Tableau applications better and better day by day.

  • However, If possible, I’d like to use Tableau generated Measure Names/Values in calculated field for custom calculation.
  • Dynamic Parameter which is in beta already, will be released soon. I saw it virtually on #DevOnStage session during #TC19. It was very interesting.
  • Advance formatting in the worksheet like increase row height for a particular records if text content is more in any cell. I know this feature is not very important, however it’s good to have. Many of us will agree to have this feature, spell check in titles/text boxes and support more custom fonts post publishing in Tableau Server/Public.
  • I also want to see something similar to “Show calculation assistance” just like we’ve in table calculation, in analytics tab so that it will be easy to understand how models works in the view. It’ll be very helpful for non-technical people.

Michael: What is next on your “To Do” list? What can the Tableau community expect to see from you in the near future?

Mahfooj: Few things which I have in my mind:

  •  First of all more contribution in community.
  • Get certified in Tableau.
  • Participate more in dataviz social projects like #MakeoverMonday #WOW2020, #ProjectHealthViz, #IronQuest, #SportsVizSunday #VizForSocialGood this year to enhance my dataviz skills.
  • Planning to start writing blogging. Lets see how it goes, didn’t plan anything yet. So stay tuned 😉
  • Attend Tableau Conference, may be #TC20. Let’s see!

Tableau PublicLink:!/

2 thoughts on “Tableau Community Spotlight: An Interview with Mahfooj Khan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.