The Pretty Picture – How Tableau can Transform Your Business

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“Processed data is information. Processed information is knowledge. Processed knowledge is Wisdom.” 

– Ankala V. Subbarao

For a moment think like that rare Enterprise yet to climb onto the Big Data and Analytics gravy train. As you cast that first critical eye over the data landscape you may see three links in the chain:

1.     Acquiring the right data

2.     Processing it appropriately and

3.     Taking the right action, at the right time, designed for business benefit.

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With software-based systems, automated processes, sensor-laden devices, and smartphones taking over the Enterprise data generation and acquisition is no longer a challenge. IDC this year, in a survey supported by Seagate, reported that by 2025 the world would be awash in 163 Zettabytes of data and that 60% of that data would be within Enterprises. With the mix changing in favor of the Enterprise, it’s also not surprising that the study predicts that the data “subject to analysis” would grow by 50X to over 5.2 ZB. Clearly, all the data the Enterprise is ever likely to need for analysis will be available to it. It’s fair to assume that the problem of acquiring data is licked. But this is where things start getting prickly. All the data in the world is of no use if it cannot help the organization sell more, treat customers or employees better, be more efficient, be more agile, and respond better to the challenges of the market.

The need to respond better to the needs of the market presents an interesting problem – the customers today are better informed and more demanding than ever before, and competition is ever-nimbler. This would suggest that the old hierarchical decision-making and trickle-down implementations must give way to independent decisions and actions taken by the departments, managers, and even individual employees. This being the case, the clear need now would be to drive actionable insights to these employees. These insights would have to reach them just when they are required. These would also have to be framed in a way that is easy for these employees to comprehend. An even greater premium is placed on making it easy for these employees to act on those insights. That suggests the need to create clearly defined processes or semi-automated workflows driven by these insights and initiated, managed, and validated by these employees. All that and the employees must also have the flexibility to modify parameters or dive deeper into the information being provided to them to stay on top of the specific nuances of what they are dealing with.

If that is what is needed for a modern-day Enterprise to make the most of a Business Intelligence or Analytics initiative then it seems like a pretty daunting task – right? Well, this is exactly where Tableau steps in.

Tableau specifically is designed to provide easy-to-understand visualizations that directly address the questions of the employees at the frontline and provide them the insights they need, timed to drive proactive actions. Robust connectivity to multiple internal and external data sources at the back end provides the raw data from which these insights are derived. These visualizations go far beyond just reports and dashboards and well into providing real business intelligence. Tableau Server in fact describes itself as a fully-featured business intelligence solution accessible over the web as well as mobile. The visual representations themselves, while impressive already, are just part of the value. Tableau allows these visualizations to become the platform for structured collaboration too – they can be shared with relevant people, commented upon, and probed for deeper insights. We have pointed out that one key need is to make it easy for the employees to act – in Tableau the insights can be plugged into workflows and help direct the most appropriate action – usually proactively.  Where Tableau really stands apart is in its ease of use – no need to pull in the IT experts to get started. So, easier-to-understand insights, available when needed, to the folks that need them, all in a package that enables collaboration and makes action easier – that sounds pretty transformational right?

But does all this really come together so naturally? B2B buying guide BetterBuys has a couple of user quotes that may help address that debate.

 “After four years of using Tableau, their software is an integrated part of our business. We are now able to drill into detailed facets of our business on a daily basis, such as wellness participation, performance of business units, and financial goals, that we were previously examining monthly or even quarterly. The simple interface and color scheme allow all Intermountain Healthcare employees to play with our data, regardless of their title.”

: Michael Thurston – Intermountain Healthcare

“Tableau Software helps us understand the way our customers navigate our website on all of our platforms in a way that we can visualize and optimize on the fly. Our data, crunched and presented in a visually appealing way, allows us to build the best possible consumer experience that ultimately results in audience development and revenue. We’re stirring, chopping, and even pureeing data every single day.”

: Grace Preyapongpisan – AllRecipes

As Grace is likely to say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! If you are considering Tableau or are at some stage of your Tableau journey then do ping us – we’ve done some great work that we would love to talk about!

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