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Andy Cotgreave, Data Evangelist, Tableau

What has been your path to power?


My data literacy journey started when I was driven to put Excel charts together for a boss who demanded summary project information. Unknowingly, I was building data-driven dashboards. From there, I became a data analyst at University of Oxford, analysing student data and becoming a public advocate for better data literacy and communication. I joined Tableau in 2011, and became their first Evangelist in 2016. My passion to bring the worlds of design and data together. I’ve spoken to audiences across the world and co-authored the best-selling book The Big Book of Dashboards. I host two shows, If Data Could Talk (data culture) and Chart Chat (data visualisation) and write the Sweet Spot newsletter where I share my thoughts about the data zeitgeist.

What impact has the pandemic had on demand from your clients?


Data has become more vital to Tableau’s customers. Businesses need to be more flexible and more agile than ever before. They need to be able to ask and answer new questions every day. Old school solutions based on dead-end dashboards no longer suffice. Our customers need to be able to explore data in real-time, surfacing insights based on every day’s new questions.

Do you get a seat at your clients’ strategic discussions? If not, what will it take to get you there?


I help customers, media and analysts across all industries see and understand their data. I am involved in strategic discussions as well as regularly giving technical advice and sharing ideas with people and teams on how to identify trends in visual analytics. This is something which I am very passionate about. We are a product company that is brimming with ambition. It is so important to me that customers, whatever they are doing, wherever they are in the world, can unlock all their data-discovery skills through Tableau.


What are your key areas of focus for the business in 2022?


My main focus this year is continuing to help people and organisations drive better outcomes with data. As part of this, two key areas that will be central to my work are growth and inclusion. Growth – alongside our fantastic teams, I will be focused on driving data cultures in regions and countries that present new and exciting opportunities. Inclusion – as employees enter the workforce with greater level technical understanding it’s more important than ever to showcase Tableau as an accessible product whilst also leveraging the business as an essential component in the future of work.


How do you apply your leadership skills a) within your own business and b) on behalf of your clients?


I am interested in the myriad ways data intersects all parts of our lives. I aim to share that passion with colleagues and customers, helping them to think about data’s role in society. My Sweet Spot newsletter curates stories from all walks of life (business, politics, philosophy, art, even board games and magicians!) linking them back to the world of data. My livestream series If Data Could Talk is a show that brings these ideas to life through conversations with a diverse cast. My personal motto matches the BBC’s founding principles: I aim to inform, educate and entertain.


What key skills or attributes do you consider have contributed to your success in this role?


Success in this role requires a creative, curious mind, matched with excellent communication and listening skills. An analytical mind allows me not just to be a great data analyst, but also how to spot and identify trends and ideas. Sharing these ideas enables me to be an excellent writer and public speaker.


How did you develop – and continue to develop – these skills or attributes?


I had a portfolio career before becoming a data analyst, and ultimately joining Tableau. I was a software engineer; business researcher; journalist; and even spent time as a cycle guide in northern Italy. Each gave me skills I need in this role: analytics, customer empathy, communication skills, etc. I have also been very lucky to have had a great deal of training in public speaking. I continue to develop my speaking skills by leaning into new areas; for example, I recently started performing magic. By doing this, I can improve my improvisation skills while speaking in front of people, and, in turn, understand more about human psychology.


How do you ensure that your proposition keeps pace with your clients’ goals and requirements so that you are leading rather than lagging behind their demands?


Tableau as an analytics platform is incredibly powerful and respected. Its growth and continued success are always front of mind. The Tableau Economy – our ecosystem of customers, partners and individuals who are leading the world’s data transformations – is so valuable in supporting organisations around the world to do better data. I have high aims for the year ahead – among them is to inspire clients’ old and new – helping them realise that being data-driven is now a requirement for success. It is by sharing in my clients’ vision that I can help them achieve their goals.



Andy Cotgreave
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Enablers 2022 (EMEA)