University of Wisconsin–Madison


Project Contacts
McKinney Austin, Tableau Developer Community Coordinator, Policy and Planning Analyst, APIR
Jocelyn Milner,  Vice Provost, Director of Academic Planning and Institutional Research
Jason Fishbain, Chief Data Officer (

About Tableau Software and the Tableau Server

Tableau Software is a business intelligence data visualization tool that allows users to interact with data through dynamic and interactive dashboards, maps, and other presentation formats.  Learn more:  Tableau Software
The Tableau server environment is a way to share data visualizations in a secure way for a defined audience.
The UW-Madison Tableau Server is primarily a resource for units and offices that have an institution-wide service role to deliver data to campus audiences.

Examples of available Tableau Workbooks and Dashboards

Department Planning Profiles
Degree and Award Trends – Students
Enrollment Trends – Students by degree/major, certificates, etc
Courses Completed by Bachelor’s Recipients
Time to Degree – Undergraduates
Time to Degree – PhD programs
PhD Degree Completion Rates
Alumni Data

Frequently Asked Questions

What information will I have access to if I log in to the Tableau Server?
It depends.  Everyone can see some visualizations that have been intentionally designed for public use.  Access to other visualizations are limited to individuals who have a need to know associated with their employment at UW-Madison because visualizations include some restricted or sensitive information.

Who can log in to the Tableau Server?
Anyone with a UW-Madison NetID and password can log in.

How do I get a desktop license for Tableau Software?
You can buy a Tableau software desktop license from the DoIT Tech Store.  Go to the DoIT Tech Store and enter “Tableau Software” in the search box. There is only one choice to make.  The purchase price includes three years of maintenance.  UW-Madison has negotiated a competitive price so buy your license from DoIT.

I want to publish to the Tableau server – how does that work?
Currently publishing activity is limited to units that have an institution-wide service role.  Contact Jocelyn Milner or Jason Fishbain to discuss participation.  Units will need to identify one or a few staff members who will be trained in the policies and processes that govern Tableau Server use; one or more of those staff members will participate in the Tableau Developer Community.
Units that currently have publishing rights are: Academic Planning and Institutional Research, Office of the Registrar, Madison Budget Office, Graduate School, FPM, Research and Sponsored Programs, University Libraries, Business Services.

Why can’t everyone publish to the Tableau server?
Publication to the Tableau Server is governed by standards.  At this time the focus is on institutional administrative data for academics and operations.   Eventually the project will have capacity for schools/colleges, departments and other groups to publish to the server.

I’m a developer, where can I find documents related to workbook publishing??
Box for Tableau_Workbook_Publishing – Access limited to those with Tableau server publishing rights.

Project History

Tableau Server Identified as Institutional BI Tool, November 2017
In November 2017 the University identified Tableau and the Tableau Server environment as a core tool for delivery of reports and data to campus audiences.  The Tableau Server will be a primary replacement for the Query Library and related data resources.   A formal roll-out will launch in spring and summer of 2018.

Tableau Server Enterprise Implementation Expansion, Starting May 2016
Since Summer 2016 the Tableau Server has been delivering information to colleagues across campus.

Tableau Server Enterprise Implementation, Phase 1, July 2015 to April 2016

Box for Tableau Project Phase 1 – Access limited to Phase 1 participants

With the success of the Tableau Server Pilot project, the decision was made to implement an enterprise-wide data visualization tool that would provide better access and security provisions than was provided in the pilot.
A UW-Madison team selected Tableau Server and Tableau Software through a Fall 2014 RFP process.

Phase 1 was established to develop policy and process for wider use in future phases, including Phase 2 which will include a wider range of units with a campus-level service role.

During Phase 1, that Tableau Server has been available for publishing Tableau workbooks only to units and individuals who participated in the pilot.

During Phase 1 the planning team developed:
-guidelines and standards for the look and feel of viz’s that will be published to the Tableau Server
-guidelines for change control, including who can publish to the Tableau Server and how decisions will be made
-guidelines and standards for who can have access as a viewer/interactor to limited-access viz’s
-a training plan for developers who seek to develop viz’s for publication to the Tableau Server
-any additional guidelines and policy needed to prepare for wider use in subsequent phases.

To support the development of guidelines and standards for the Tableau Server implementation, Phase 1, the UW-Madison Data Stewardship Council will establish a Tableau Access Working Group (TAWG).  TAWG will be co-chaired by Jason Fishbain, Chief Data Officer, and Jocelyn Milner, Director of APIR.

Tableau Server Pilot, 2013-2015

Starting in Summer 2013, APIR partnered with the Office of the Registrar (RO) on a pilot implementation of a Tableau Server for use by UW-Madison administrative offices.  Funding for the 2013-2015 Tableau Server pilot was provided by the Office of the Registrar and the Division of Continuing Studies under the Educational Innovation project.

Additional partners in the pilot included the Division of Continuing Studies, the Graduate School, FP&M, and the Madison Budget Office.  DoIT was also an indispensable partner and provided technical support for implementation and service.

In the pilot phase developers in APIR and the RO prepared Tableau visualizations to serve specific purposes and audiences, consistent with the role and authority of those units.
Many of those viz’s were made available to viewers/interactors through Tableau Public.
Viz’s that were made available on Tableau Public were based on summary data sets that had already been made public; the viz’s were designed to highlight features of data that may not be readily apparent by inspection of tables of numbers.
A number of viz’s that contained student level information were made available to a small number of users through a Tableau Server to which only about 20 UW-Madison faculty and administrators had access.  For example, the pilot included a number of viz’s developed to help school/college “summer deans” do better planning for curriculum delivery in the summer term.

Page last revised January 31 2018