A Tepee maps structured tabular data – any data in rows and columns. The structure is an ordering of the rows of the tabular data, which, often occurs naturally in data sets. When it does not exist naturally an ordering can usually be created by the user. Some shuffling, ordering or re-organization of the columns of the table can also enhance the graphic. The rows represent levels and the columns are attributes whose levels are of interest. The graphic is an easy to grasp depiction, compared to raw data and its mathematical transformations, of the distribution of the elements of a structured tabular dataset along column attributes and row levels. Colors associated with the column attributes help identify dominant attributes.
Early application of this tool was in characterizing organizational structure. In applications to organizational structure, the structured table is also called a resource utilization matrix. Resource utilization at various functions and at differing levels within the organization are mapped onto a color coded chart. This depiction of resource utilization is intended as an innocuous alternative to the organizational chart, having more functionality. It has a color on the chart as dominant when the function associated with the color expends resources to a larger extent. The Tepee provides a fair assessment of resource utilization across organizational functions and hierarchical levels, should this tool be used as an aid in growth and attrition decisions. Strong consideration of intangibles such as work-flows and individual talent, experience and socio-economic factors should precede the use of aggregate insights of organizational structure Tepees.
Broader Applications of Tepee Plots
There are many other contexts in which we find structured tabular data. Any table in rows and columns with any quantitative content and some natural or induced ordering can be displayed using a Tepee. Click on Ebola Epidemic in Western Africa for a Tepee depicting the flare and containment of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Click on Laboratory Grade Shift Tepee for a tepee depicting shifts in safety labs from baseline. Click on Outsourcing Cost Tepee for a tepee depicting the distribution of outsourcing costs across projects. Click on Cancer Therapies Over Time for tepees depicting regimes prescribed over time for multiple myeloma. The R-Code for this patented tool is available for free for individual users. Please contact me at email@example.com if you would like a copy of the code and the instructions that go with it. The R statistical programming language is available for free from the CRAN website. You will receive instructions on downloading the R software and our sample program used to generate the graphic in the R interface. Some basic R skills are needed to run the programs, which, in our opinion are not too difficult to acquire. Any commercial software vendors hoping to implement this tool may approach me for a licensing agreement. We hope for a large number of applications in research and practice.
Organizational Structure Tepees: Resources across functions and levels
The popular HR structure tool, an organizational chart, provides an overview of manpower distribution but it does not provide a visualization of other resources utilized. For instance, the manpower related payroll expenses are not reflected in an organizational chart. An organizational chart does not tie organizational structure to resource utilization unlike the Tepee. The span of an organizational chart is limited by the smallest possible size of its blocks and their contents. This is less of a limitation for the tepee. What might take 50-60 pages in an organizational chart can easily be depicted in one page through this graphic. Click on Distribution of Personnel in a Simulated Corporation for a structural Tepee for a business as a whole. Click on Juxtaposition of CEO and Worker Compensation for a tepee of compensation for a business as a whole. Click on Full Time Equivalent Data for a Business Unit for a tepee for a business unit or department. The Tepee can be constructed for any resource whose use can be partitioned across functions and levels. The Tepee has broad utility: resources could include any quantifiable financial activity in an organization. Functions of interest could be professional groupings as well as coalitions centered on products, locations and markets. One could construct Tepees for an organization as a whole or restrict the display to business units, processes or projects.
Prerequisites: Structured Tabular Data
The requirement before we construct a Resource Tepee is a structured tabular matrix. This provides the needed data to plot the distribution of the elements of the matrix across row levels and column attributes.The Tepee Examples pages provide examples of structured tabular matrices.
The Resource Tepee invention is protected by the US patent 7,495,673 B1 issued on Feb 24th 2009. Click on US7495673 to see the patent.