Magazine Luiza gains fast access to sales data

Magazine Luiza one of Brazil’s largest retailers. In the past, viewing data from sales could take up to two or three days. When Magazine Luiza started their BI project, they needed a tool that could help them quickly make sense of their data from brick-and-mortar and online stores. Employees needed to be able to interact with the data and quickly make changes to visualizations, regardless of skillset. Prioritizing innovation and collaboration—Tableau was the best fit.

With more than 780 stores, 9 distribution centers, and 3 offices across 16 Brazilian states, Magazine Luiza is one of the largest retailers in the country.

Magazine Luiza’s Tableau deployment started in the sales planning and purchasing areas and is growing into other sectors like logistics and marketing. With Tableau consulting services, employees quickly familiarize themselves with the software—allowing them to do analysis themselves.

Today, with Tableau dashboards, reports that used to take up to three days are now available within hours.

Tableau: What encouraged you and your company to implement Tableau?
Roberto Montagner, Business Intelligence Coordinator: We started a BI project in late 2013, which aimed to work on both innovation as well as collaboration. We were seeking companies in the market that shared this working ideology and talked to several of them. Some had what we wanted, and others had deployed traditional marketing tools. At this point, through a Gartner Institute reference, we discovered Tableau and started running this project within our IT department.

Tableau: Were you experiencing any specific problem?
Roberto: Retail has a very different dynamic, which requires us to have information quickly, so that we can support the business areas in making forecasts, producing reports, making decisions etc. So we were looking in the market for a tool that could do this because often the information is embedded in a mass of data and people don´t know that. The objective of our BI project was to allow the user to view and access the most important data. The idea was to use a tool that allows anyone, even when making a mistake, to quickly fix the error until they get to the information they really wanted.

Tableau really espouses the same philosophy that we were looking for: to broaden data access from IT staff to the end user.

Tableau: And how were you doing it before Tableau?
Roberto:: We had some initiatives with traditional marketing tools. In other words, the business area was making requests to IT, who developed and returned it to the business area. But with the amount of information growing, that just increased the response time.

Tableau: How was the start of the implementation, how has Tableau developed at the company?
Roberto: Our goal was to implement a project that prioritized two main points: innovation and collaboration. In these respects, it was clear that Tableau could help us. In terms of collaboration, for example, from the beginning the consulting firm that worked with us, and even the Tableau team itself have always been very close to the company. One instance that really caught our attention was when Miguel (Nhuch), Vice President of Tableau, was at Magazine Luiza and took out his laptop and began to do a demo for our team. This was very important for us because it showed that Tableau really espouses the same philosophy that we were looking for, which is to broaden data access from IT staff all the way down to the end user.

Tableau: Which departments use Tableau today?
Roberto: Today Tableau is well distributed within the company. We started prioritizing some areas such as business and sales planning, which are two upfront areas, working a lot with the purchasing area. Now, other sectors are also using Tableau, such as logistics and marketing.

Tableau: What problems has the Magazine Luiza staff resolved with Tableau?
Roberto: Before, we had a really long delay in receiving detailed sales results or the results from some campaigns, for example. Today we can view them online in real-time or, in the very least, in near-time. In addition, some information that sometimes used to take two or three days to be compiled, is now prepared in a matter of hours.

The retail market requires quick responses. The faster we are able to make projections or work with the information before the competition, the more we benefit from it.

Tableau: How is Tableau particularly useful for your market?
Roberto: The retail market requires quick responses. The faster we are able to make projections or work with the information before the competition, the more we benefit from it. In addition, one of the basic precepts of Magazine is to never keep up with the competition, but always be ahead of it. So all areas are pursuing this goal and IT is no different.

Tableau: How long did it take to implement Tableau?
Roberto: We started the project with Tableau at the end of 2013, contracts were signed in early 2014 and the proofs of concept (PoCs) that were run at the beginning of the project already served for the business area. That's because we created a very interesting model in which the final purchase decision for the tool was made by the user. PoCs were conducted with some traditional tools from the market. All were very similar technically and had very close scores.

We then selected the two companies who had the best ratings in terms of what we wanted, we united the business areas along with these companies and we did a proof of concept of a product that these areas would like to have, with the objective of self-service BI. The two companies responded well, but Tableau stood out with regard to the usability of the product, and the business area made its decision.

Tableau: How long did it take users to start generating dashboards?
Roberto: About two or three weeks maximum. That was the time to install the Desktop versions on the machines, and for the staff to get started using it. Consulting helped us a lot in this They instructed one person to give the training and the initial guidelines. There was only the exponential distribution issue within the company.

Tableau: What would you do if you didn't have Tableau?
Roberto: We would continue with the traditional methods, but there would be many things we could not do due to the sheer volume of data. This means that we would continue with the slow process and have to do without some information that is now vital to the company, especially with regard to electronic commerce, for example.

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