Medway Youth Trust, a registered charity based just outside of London, has chosen Tableau Software to provide informative and innovative dashboards to help them collect and analyse crucial data to tackle youth unemployment.The charity aims to help teenagers avoid unemployment and provides advice and support to those most at risk still in school.
Tableau dashboards have allowed Medway Youth Trust to connect information from a number of different data sources, including management systems in schools and colleges. This data can then be used to map the path of young people from the age of 12, through to their late teens or early twenties. The charity analyses the data and can assess the risk each young person faces of becoming unemployed. This allows the charity to act fast and provide guidance, often before the youngster has left full time education.
As a small charity with only 55 members of staff, Tableau was the perfect option as other software providers proved to be aimed at enterprise level organisations. Other software companies were considered, such as Yellowfin, but Tableau beat off the competition with its accessible dashboard systems. Gary Seamen, head of business analytics at Medway Youth Trust explains: "Tableau is so easy to use in terms of deployment and actually starting to build a dashboard - you can build a dashboard within 10 minutes of downloading the software. It's quite intuitive; you can connect it to loads of other data sources. That is essentially why I chose Tableau, because it's so easy to use. Particularly for us, as a small organisation, you don't get the cost of deploying a solution on an enterprise level where you don't need that enterprise level."
Tableau Software has also proved to be helpful in getting the charity's staff familiar with predictive analytics, which had previously been somewhat difficult for the team. Seamen is impressed with Tableau's ability to make even some of the most technical data analytics become accessible: "This is a perfect way to show them the output from that predictive analytics because they can see it in a visual way and it's very clear and concise."
While the charity understands that people see information differently, Seamen argues that a static bar graph that can be filtered down was not an accessible or visually enticing format for the data. He explains: "I wanted councillors within the local authority to take ownership of the young people within their area. They can see what we're doing with local authority money, how were looking after young people, how we're targeting young people in their area and it gives them ownership and monitoring in a more high tech way. They can click back and see historical changes, patterns, movements and trends."
One of the key reasons for choosing Tableau was the potential for their management team to sufficiently monitor the data and progress, with the dashboards displaying the data in a more intelligent and efficient way. Seamen said: "I wanted key stake holders, staff, senior managers, trustees, everybody, to see the information that I was seeing, but in a more visual way." Also due to the Tableau's clever geo-mapping capabilities, the charity was able to visually map out their database for a more accessible result. "We've got a map of Medway with all their 23 district wards so councillors can see the vulnerable groups of young people within particular wards. All you do is click on a ward and it gives you the break down by gender, ethnicity, what school they go to etc - really usefully and insightful information."
The charity is hoping to use Tableau Software to tackle high profile issues such as cyber bullying. As a result of online bullying, there has been a focus on teenage suicides that have recently made the headlines, which is of great concern to the charity.
Medway Youth Trust's hope is to bring together information about young people from their database and match it up with their online social media activity. This could then give them the potential to identify those at risk of online bullying, although issues regarding security and protecting personal information remains a concern.
Seaman explains: "There are a lot of issues around data protection and information sharing, but if we can get over that and bring certain pieces of technology together, they can help you to identify those most vulnerable and be able to prevent tragic things happening.
"It's about bringing all the partners together, the NHS, the police, the department for work and pensions - it's just getting everybody around the table and saying 'if we all shared this information, we could do so much help in identifying not only vulnerable young people but vulnerable adults as well'."