Citrix equips users with plug-and-play insight

Citrix software solutions enable people to work anywhere when inspiration strikes. In this interview, Senior Director of Business Operations Kevin Sonsky explains Citrix uses Tableau to empower companies to embrace mobile users, app stores, SaaS and cloud infrastructure.

Tableau: What got Citrix interested in Tableau?
Kevin Sonsky, Senior Director of Business Operations: Citrix had made a lot of investments in the back-end warehouses and cubes and data models over the years, but struggled with getting a lot of that insight of the rich data out of those architectures. We discovered Tableau could provide a lot of that rich insight through just simple plug-and-play much better than a lot of the tools we already had installed.

Tableau: What sort of insights does Tableau uncover for Citrix?
Kevin: With Tableau, we get insight into information that we really struggled with before. So we're finding that we have a lot more insight into our customer behaviors and their buying patterns around the products, and what routes to market they're buying—something that we've just never been able to accomplish before.

Tableau: What is most compelling Tableau feature for you and for Citrix?
Kevin: The data architecture at Citrix is made up of a variety of source systems and cubes and relational databases, with tools that are generally tied one-to-one with the individual technology. So to find a tool like Tableau that is rather agnostic to the connections it can make to the various datasets was very compelling.

Also, Tableau is very helpful at blending data. Users see that as a significant benefit—whether it's spreadsheets that they may be managing or different source systems that haven't really been conformed yet into our architecture. Without needing IT, they can bring all that data together and blend and analyze it in ways that they weren't able to before.

Tableau: So the self-service qualities of Tableau save you time?
Kevin: Tableau has been probably the most significant step we've taken towards self-service BI, which has been the number one goal of our journey since day one. Users on their own have an idea of how they want to look at data, and can turn it around very, very quickly. Speed to development is significantly faster than in the old paradigm of putting change requests in for specialists to code the reporting requirements. We also spend much less time training. It's a very intuitive tool. And so as we introduce it to users they take it on right away without extensive training. We also find that it makes us more productive in that we can prototype and deliver answers to questions that we get asked.

Tableau is a wow product. It just works. With no consultants, no training, it just plugs in and it works.

Tableau: Can you quantify the efficiency benefits of Tableau?
Kevin: Tableau is a wow product. It just works. With no consultants, no training, it just plugs in and it works. All software should be that easy and fun to work with. Where we would have had resources spent putting together Excel workbooks or complicated data merges using spreadsheets, they're spending more time analyzing data now. There are teams that used to engage with consultants and pay for them to develop customized dashboards, coding specifically for their needs, can now just use Tableau straight out of the box and avoid some of those excess costs.

Tableau: What would life be like without Tableau?
Kevin: Without Tableau, we’d be making more investments in resources to do a lot of the heavy lifting that Tableau does. We would have resources developing a lot of spreadsheets, reworking a lot of answers to questions as the iterative process goes along with our management team. With Tableau, that can happen in real time.

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