Today Linda Briggs over at TDWI posted an article, Q&A: Zynga Stresses Visual Access to Its Vast Data Volumes, about her Q&A session with Ken Rudin, Director of Analytics for Zynga Games. Ken has a deep analytics background and is well-known in the business intelligence world.
Now in his capacity with Zynga, he has an incredibly interesting environment to solve a key strategic task - he's got Tableau on top of one of the world's largest data warehouses (which happens to be built by Vertica) to help the Zynga team make their games even more successful. They're probably most well-known for their Facebook games like Farmville (personally, I'm a huge fan of Scramble on the iPhone).
In his interview with Linda, Ken makes it clear that doing analysis on top of a massive data warehouse is just the beginning. One of my favorite quotes is "if you're doing analysis, you might be generating fantastic insights, but if you distribute your results to people and they aren't able to understand it, they won't actually do anything differently.“
In fact, Ken goes on to say a lot of great things, particularly about Tableau. See below for a few more. Clearly, Tableau with Vertica is rapid-fire BI at its best.
- “Tableau makes it easy to uncover insights, and then picks the best way to present them visually so they can be easily understood. We can now put the data out there and I don't have to go and talk to 250 people individually to explain it to them. An intuitive chart does it for me.“
- “Many of the other tools we looked at required you to either work with just a subset of the data or pull a full copy of the data into its own local storage. With the first approach, you don't get all the data, and due to our data size, the second approach wasn't feasible. Tableau is one of the few that goes back to the source, the main database itself, when you issue a query, versus having to pull over a cube.“
- “Tableau has all the analysis we need... I'd rather have good analytics and great communication than great analytics and poor communication because in the latter case, you get nothing out of it. I don't mean to imply that Tableau is at all weak on the analytics part of it. They do everything we need and more.“
- “Tableau is a great tool that allows you to tell great stories...“
- “(Tableau) makes it much easier to get people to act. My fundamental philosophy is, if you're doing analysis, you might be generating fantastic insights, but if you distribute your results to people and they aren't able to understand it, they won't actually do anything differently.“
- “Using Tableau, we show people what needs to change and what the outcome is going to be. It's all there... “