Cars.com, Tableau Professional Services, and The Beek

By Kathleen Goepferd July 23, 2013

Did you know that Cars.com sees 11 million visitors a month? That is a LOT of car shoppers. In order to keep its advertisers satisfied, the company wanted to provide faster, more easily understood insight into exactly how these 11 million prospective car shoppers are behaving on the site. And they wanted to figure out the most efficient way to publish that insight to multiple audiences.

Cars.com has tons of data. Well, terabytes of it anyway. But the company struggled to get easily understood analytics into the hands of its digital salespeople quickly.

The company knew it needed a visual analytics tool to make better use of its data. And Cars.com had a pretty easy time choosing Tableau. In fact, Tableau Server was the front-running visual analytics solution pretty much from the start.

Where they had some difficulty was in understanding exactly how to best architect the solution so that they could provide easy access to business users behind the firewall but also to remote digital ad salespeople who worked exclusively within salesforce. In addition, Cars.com knew it would want to eventually provide dashboards and visualizations directly to advertising customers.

Cars.com brought in Tableau Professional Services to help architect the solution and to provide best practices for security and publishing to multiple audiences.

The team suggested two instances of Tableau Server: one "traditional" deployment behind the cars.com firewall and a second deployment that would use token authentication between Salesforce and the external-facing server. This enables Cars.com salespeople to log in once-to Salesforce-and work with dashboards and vizzes without ever needing to re-authenticate.

“I'm not sure how feasible it would have been without the help of the Professional Services team. At least, it would have taken us a long time to figure out how the different security and authentication options should work,” says Kevin Wyderka, Director of Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence for Cars.com.

Cars.com is now getting data insights to its salespeople up to 4 hours earlier each day. During its busiest month (February, right after the Super Bowl car ads!) the company was able to save 45 hours with Tableau's ability to refresh data in dashboards automatically. And the company is able to take advantage of Tableau's flexible design options to ensure that the dashboards comply with company brand standards-an important consideration for a public brand planning to use these dashboards in direct customer communications.

For learn more, read the full case study.

And.. how does James Van Der Beek fit into all that?

Oh, he's in a Cars.com commercial right now. It's pretty funny.