The team struggled to work with the changing data structures, but continued to push through the development of visual metrics to manage key aspects of the operations.
The turning point came about halfway through the semester, as some parts of the data and metrics started to stabilize. The team was able to present initial results with Tableau to their classmates on the other projects. “There were a couple of measures they showed that were absolutely brilliant – the entire class just went ‘whoa.’ We could see and feel how products were shipping out of each warehouse, and how sales were driving them,” says Anson. “The other groups not using Tableau started seeing the implications of what using Tableau could lead to.”
The team found Tableau’s intuitive, drag-and-drop interface easy to learn. One of the students noted that he was “able to be productive in Tableau even though I hadn’t worked in it before. I was able to create a Tableau view quickly.”
As the students continued working with the client’s data, they also realized the speed of Tableau. “They’d say, how do you want this data to look? They looked at the data from all the different angles and the best way to represent it, and were able to quickly redo the scales and legends and labels. Most of their analysis was around warehouses, so they’re looking at either all 15 warehouses for anomalies, or one particular warehouse and trends within it. It was so easy to manipulate the visualizations,” says Anson.
“For the final client checkpoint meeting to turn the project over to the client, there were about 18 people, including three VPs. It was huge for them. They wanted to take the student-created Tableau dashboard for operations and release it to managers after a few tweaks. They had also just hired another data analyst who would start editing it for other departments like marketing.”
Following the checkpoint, the client shared with Anson the next steps for the organization. “We are in the process of realigning the dashboard to connect directly to our internal data source. The dashboard will be published on Tableau Server and used by the business going forward. We plan to continue adding additional drilldown views and potentially additional metrics to the project.”
In addition to the warm client reception, the students found additional positive reception awaiting them at the end of the semester: one of the group members was offered a full-time job working with the client.
“One of the group was offered a full-time job working with the client,” says Anson. “I think they would have hired any of the students after the work that they did with Tableau!”