Bram: We started looking at Tableau because we wanted to have a toolkit that was very easy to use, even for people with a less technical background. This is the main reason. There are a number of people in the company who are very specialized in obtaining data. But once you have this data, you naturally also want it to be seen. But the people who visit the customers, my colleagues, they don't always have the knowledge to visualize the data. So this is where Tableau has proved to be very useful.
Tableau: How have things changed now that you are using Tableau?
Bram: The changes Tableau has made are really beginning to take shape. For example, we've got a reporting module that our customers can use. Previously this was just a simple table in which you could put a couple of graphs, which was based on a query we had submitted. We're now in the process of converting it completely to Tableau so that our customers can view it directly.
Tableau: What other benefits are you seeing?
Bram: In particular, with the aid of the Tableau Server version, we want to give customers more insight using a reporting module. At that moment we can, with the help of Tableau, very easily say, “Here you go, customer. Do you want to see additional information?” That’s possible. This can be done for X-amount per month and we can arrange it. And we can do that with the aid of Tableau. The fact that we can then load the data, prepare it, and the customer can click through it and query it at any moment in the day.
Tableau: How much data are you working with?
Bram: The thing with which Tableau has really helped me is with the visualization of very large quantities of data. Our Data Warehouse receives millions of rows of data every day. And to process it properly you simply can’t manage with one of the basic tools—an Excel sheet, for example. Especially if you want to look at Wi-Fi data, how strong a Wi-Fi signal is over the course of the day. That can be millions of data points.
Tableau: Do you aggregate all of that data?
Bram: During the last couple of months we've made real progress with aggregating data. This involves millions, billions even, of rows that we have to process. Previously to do this we had to start off with a query every time. Well, as you can imagine, that took a lot of man hours. Now we just load the data once and click through it and then after only a couple of minutes you have a lovely graph.
Tableau: How do you decide what to report on?
Bram: With Tableau, we no longer need to have a picture of the type of report we want to make. Before you had to start off with a fixed picture of what you were going to do, knowing the desired outcome, and that eventually would emerge. With Tableau you can also say, I'll throw in some data and then see what comes out the other end, and then we'll decide how to easily present it.
Tableau: What kinds of insights can you provide to your customers, with Tableau?
Bram: For example, if batteries need to be replaced in a large batch or is it necessary to purchase new devices because the old ones break very often. So, for example this resulted in an investment in several hundred new batteries which have been purchased. Purely because we could interpret the data very easily and could visualize it to the customer.
Tableau: What are your future plans for using Tableau?
Bram: For my future with Tableau in the company, I can see us making the reporting module—the one that the customers can see—much more interactive. And that we're going to put a lot more into it. But also we'll put the ad hoc reports in it, so that the people who are in contact with customers can make better use of it. Right now it's a case of either I have to do it, or a colleague has to specifically do it, from the BI department, but in future we really want to give to our salespeople as well, so that they can also use it so they can see that this is the real added value that we as Moxx can offer customers by using Tableau.
Tableau: How has Tableau changed your work?
Bram: It's made life a lot quieter. A lot people used to come to me with questions like, ‘can you run this report for me just now’, or, ‘could you give me more detailed information?’ Well, I just don't have that any more. These people no longer have to make their way to my office. They can now simply see it for themselves—nice and easy. This resulted in the fact that I can get more into depth while with a customer. Where previously you would say 'I'll take a look later once I'm back at the office', you can now delve into the data wherever you are.