Deloitte IT balances self-service for 5,000+ users without compromising security


Scaled to 5,000+ daily Tableau users
Provided robust security, managed by IT
Opened up new commercial opportunities

Deloitte is the second-largest professional services network in the world with global professionals in audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, taxes, and more. Deloitte’s IT team helped scale Tableau to over 5,000+ global employees, building up a scalable governance model with active directory authentication. IT owns formal repositories while the business manages Tableau Server projects, adding and deleting users as needed. Deloitte also expanded Tableau across the client-side of the business, moving from 120-page slide decks to interactive, insightful analysis. This culture of enablement has created new business opportunities, creating innovative approaches to analysis that help expand Deloitte’s business.

One of the things when you're trying to set up a self-serve environment is you need to make decisions about the security model that you're going to set up. It needs to be robust enough to handle most situations. But it needs to be easy enough to be scalable for thousands and thousands of people.

IT empowers 5,000 users with scalable governance model

What began as an small project for Deloitte quickly grew to well over 5,000 Tableau Desktop users and 1,500+ regular Tableau Server interactors. With a deliberate investment in Tableau, IT knew they needed to set up a sustainable governance model to enable self-service at scale.

“One of the things you need to do when you’re trying to set up a self-service environment is you need to make decisions about the security model that you’re trying to set up,” explains Angela Alini, Senior Manager of Insight and Visualization. “It needs to be robust enough to handle most situations but it needs to be easy enough to be scalable for thousands and thousands of people.”

The IT team set up systems of records—data sources, controlled by IT, that act as sources of truth for all ad-hoc analysis throughout Deloitte. Deloitte connects to everything from SAP HANA, SQL Server, and Excel spreadsheets, to Salesforce.

With Active Directory as their authentication model, the IT team assigns permissions within projects on Tableau Server. The publisher group can add and delete members and manage content within a project folder. The consumer group, the group that consumes visualizations, is much broader.

“Now people are able to explore their data, publish their analysis up in a secure environment, and people can access it without having to have a client on their machine,” says Angela. “They just click a link and they access Tableau Server, they interact with the visualization. And the person that's published it can add some context through concepts such as storyboarding.”

Today, IT has developed a sustainable governance model, allowing business users to manage their own content, while IT manages governance and security on the backend.

“We allow business users to explore their data, visualize their data, gain insight from their data without having to compromise our security needs,” said Angela. “I can teach a finance person how to use Tableau Desktop. It is very difficult for me to teach an IT person 20 years of finance experience. And that's the true power of using something like Tableau.”

This is not a command and control. We’re building a culture of enablement. We're going to give our practitioners the tools to succeed and then we're going to enable them to continue to up the game with Tableau.

Transforming client dashboards, leading to commercialization opportunities

In addition to using Tableau internally, the organization also uses Tableau to share analytics with clients. Deloitte already had a word-class team of data scientists, but they needed a visual analytics platform that could handle big data and convey insights to clients in a digestible way.

“We don't sell analytics for analytics' sake. We help solve clients' problems. It’s really around helping them understand the "so what" in the analytics. And that's really where Tableau's plugged in for us,” said Deloitte’s Strategy and Operations Principal Ryan Renner.

Instead of just presenting data to clients, Ryan has found that Tableau allows consultants to engage with clients “early and often” and “jointly discover with them versus present out to them.” It helps them build change alongside clients, whether it's exploring data, walking through the analysis, or sitting down in joint discovery sessions versus the typical “120-slide deck that people gloss over after slide number five.”

They can analyze and present data from disparate systems—both internal and external data—in an easy-to-consume way. And now they have the flexibility to share data with clients on an iPad or a desktop computer—on or offline.

“We’re actually engaging them, showing them their data in a different way that helps people emotionally connect with the analysis and the findings in a way that other mediums just don't allow you to do,” shares Ryan.

As a result of Deloitte’s client-facing dashboards, the company spearheaded new, innovative offerings and increased client satisfaction.

“The impact we've seen is very positive uptick with our people and from our clients. We’ve ultimately seen new and innovative approaches in our ability to commercialize that innovation much faster because now we have a common tool and a platform that we're leveraging versus disparate spreadsheets and analysis sitting on people's desktops.”

What I’ve found as far as enablement is concerned, is that the best way to teach someone Tableau is to put Desktop in their hands. You give them some minimal instruction, and it is amazing what users do.

Faster, broader use of analytics creates culture of enablement

Today, a wide range of Deloitte employees access Tableau, from software engineers, managers, all the way to principals, directors, and partners.

“When we gave them Tableau, it's reduced the time that they have to spend on lower-value-add activities such as creating charts, synthesizing data, pulling all that together. With Tableau, they're more willing and ready to share analysis faster than what's typically been expected,” shares Ryan.

This new approach to analysis has permeated all the way to senior leadership who uses Tableau for performance evaluation and partner unit allocation. Enablement starts at the top, empowering Deloitte employees to succeed and to help their clients succeed.

“That excitement and that enthusiasm goes up through our organization and we hear very positive feedback from our leaders who now are using Tableau in things like performance evaluation and partner unit allocation,” says Ryan.

“We’re building a culture of enablement. This is not a command and control. We're going to give our practitioners the tools to succeed and then we're gonna enable them to continue to up the game with Tableau.”

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