Andy Cotgreave
Andy Cotgreave is Tableau Software’s senior data analyst in the UK. With 16+ years experience battling with good and bad Business Intelligence (BI) tools, Andy has held positions in data analysis, business research and software development. Prior to Tableau, he was a senior data analyst at the University of Oxford. He has also served in positions at Fast Track, RCP Consultants and RM PLC, giving him a diverse range of technical and non-technical skills. He’s a frequent speaker and has spoken at conferences including Strata London, Oxford Internet Institute and News:Rewired. Andy is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and holds an MA in Geography.

Andy downloaded a trial version of Tableau when frustrated with the BI tools available to him at his previous company. “In just four hours, I had gained more insights than our team would normally take weeks to discover. I was hooked instantly and realized that Tableau’s approach was refreshing, innovative and disruptive.”

Entries by Andy Cotgreave

New Ways to See Time

(0) Comments | Posted 2 March 2015 | (12:49)

"Lost time is never found again." - Benjamin Franklin, 1758

Time is precious. In analytics we not only want to see what's happening over time, we want to get insights from this data as quickly and efficient as possible. How can we chart time in order to get...

Read Post

Don't hide your data. Show it in all its glory!

(0) Comments | Posted 28 January 2015 | (10:24)

When exploring and sharing data, most people assume it's best to summarise in order to show a story. Surely, they think, reducing your data to the fewest points possible is the best thing to do? I put it to you that this is wrong: why only show a summary when...

Read Post

What Links Magic and Data Visualization?

(0) Comments | Posted 19 December 2014 | (11:44)


What's the best way to visualize information? Do the opposite of what a magician would do. Effective data visualization exploits the strengths - avoids the weaknesses - of the visual system. Magicians, of course, do the opposite. Watching great magicians and...

Read Post

How Do You Tell a Dataviz Expert From an Amateur?

(0) Comments | Posted 21 October 2014 | (12:37)

You need to make a chart for your bosses. It needs to be just right: it has to communicate the message correctly in order to get your bosses to make the correct decision. But - wait - you're a data visualization novice. Oh no! How do you know you're going...

Read Post

Why a Chart Should Start, Not End, a Conversation

(0) Comments | Posted 30 September 2014 | (17:34)

An effective chart can answer many questions, but it can never answer all questions. It might answer the exact question the chart designer wanted to answer, but even the most astute designer cannot control his or her audience. A curious audience will read a chart and, with luck, come up...

Read Post

What Did the World Cup Do for Data Visualization?

(0) Comments | Posted 16 July 2014 | (19:47)

Congratulations to Germany. They were the best team in the competition and deserved their 1-0 victory in a great final. It was a fantastic winning goal, too, by Götze. After four great weeks, national teams, FIFA and the players will be reflecting on possibly the best ever World Cup. As...

Read Post

Become the Ultimate Raconteur: Storytelling With Data

(0) Comments | Posted 18 June 2014 | (15:37)

What's the best story you've ever been told? What's the best piece of fiction you've ever read? What is it about the memories of those that have made them stick in your mind? Defining what a story is and why they have impact is very difficult. At its heart a...

Read Post

From the Crimea to Soho: Victorian Disease and Data Heroes

(0) Comments | Posted 7 April 2014 | (16:16)

For many years, data visualisations have been transforming the way people see and understand data. Looking back at the history of data visualisation helps us in our work today. It reveals the core reasons that people visualise data: to change the world. It also teaches us that the most effective...

Read Post

Braving the Data Deluge

(0) Comments | Posted 16 December 2013 | (14:00)

In my experience there are two distinct types of people, both of which can be characterised by their reaction to a storm. On the one hand there are those that choose to embrace a storm, and who delight in going out in the elements, jumping in puddles and splashing about....

Read Post

Lies, Damned Lies and Data Visualisations?

(0) Comments | Posted 30 October 2013 | (15:46)

Let me start with a controversial statement: all data visualisations are manipulative. To give you an example: Have you ever seen the Rabbit-Duck illusion where the image switches back and forth from being a duck to being a rabbit? This shows how profoundly the design of illustrations can...

Read Post

What Can Your Data Analytics Team Learn From Star Trek?

(0) Comments | Posted 25 September 2013 | (12:39)

Andy Cotgreave, social content manager at Tableau Software, explains why a strong team ethic can ensure that you boldly go where no data analytics team has gone before

"Data: the final frontier. Yours are the voyages of the data analyst. Your five-year mission: to explore strange new datasets, to...

Read Post

Are You Making Hard Work of Data Exploration?

(1) Comments | Posted 8 August 2013 | (15:47)

Andy Cotgreave, social content manager at Tableau Software, explains how interrogating data sets can be so easy that you might only need one finger

How much data do you see every day? Whether it's wading through lines of numbers on spreadsheets at your office or sitting at home comparing...

Read Post

How Business Intelligence Tools Can Help Us to Mind the Skills Gap

(1) Comments | Posted 1 August 2013 | (16:14)

Andy Cotgreave, Social Content Manager at Tableau Software, explains why analytics tools can play a key role in determining the success of Britain's future leaders

How do you define the skills that make for a strong, successful leader? For some it's the ability to make difficult decisions. For others,...

Read Post

BI and the Bottom Line

(1) Comments | Posted 17 July 2013 | (16:50)

Andy Cotgreave, Tableau Software Social Content Manager, examines the significant impact business intelligence software can have on the most accountable of business areas; the bottom line

Picture the scene. You're a business owner with a multitude of data across your business. Naturally, you're keen to improve your financial performance....

Read Post

Your Data Analysis Takes How Long?

(0) Comments | Posted 3 July 2013 | (11:21)

Andy Cotgreave, Social Content Manager at Tableau Software, looks at how analytics tools can help to save valuable time


Imagine, for a moment, that you've been given a task to analyse a dataset inside sixty minutes and share your...

Read Post

What Can 'Where's Wally' Teach Us About Data Visualisation?

(0) Comments | Posted 15 May 2013 | (23:47)

Are you making a 'Where's Wally' puzzle of your data analysis? At first, this might not seem like an obvious question to ask, but think about it. The challenge and enjoyment offered by Martin Handford's puzzles stem from scanning intricate images, being visually tripped up by puns and tricks, whilst...

Read Post

Why Wait in Line to Get Insight Into Your Data?

(0) Comments | Posted 8 April 2013 | (11:35)

The willingness of Britons to stand patiently in line, waiting for their turn, has come to define us as a nation. It could also be a habit that harms our productivity. Today, the sheer volume of data running through businesses is increasing at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, some organisations remain...

Read Post

Using Your Data for You

(0) Comments | Posted 7 March 2013 | (14:12)

As we all know, a lot of today's businesses have extensive data on us as consumers. Be it our favourite social network, the local supermarket or the bank. But not a lot of that insight is ever used to its full potential, either for the business, or the consumer.


Read Post

Why You Should Animate Your Data to Liberate It

(2) Comments | Posted 5 February 2013 | (12:09)

One of the most common misconceptions in industry today is that data - and in particular, big data - on its own, is capable of driving business value. Look across any sector you care to mention, in any corner of the globe, and you'll find countless 'experts' telling you that...

Read Post

The Power of the Hidden Data Gem

(0) Comments | Posted 16 January 2013 | (15:40)

If there's one thing that working with data teaches you, it's to expect the unexpected. After all, it's easy to look at data sets and extrapolate the obvious conclusions that stand out from the most glaring statistics. But what if the real value of the data was to be found...

Read Post