Punchh speeds time to insight and product development

100% adoption, enabling collaboration around one source of truth

Custom dashboards can be created in 4 hours vs. days or weeks previously

Tableau Server has eliminated time and costs spent on DevOps

Founded in 2010, Punchh is a rapidly growing SaaS provider that helps physical retailers supercharge the in-store and online customer experience. Its products include an AI-powered customer engagement platform as well as solutions for loyalty and offer management. Through these solutions, Punchh helps retailers leverage their data to optimize customer engagement and maximize lifetime value.

"We surface dozens of metrics that help retailers understand and drive customer behavior. These include things like campaign results, average receipt size, and the frequency and timing of in-store visits," said Xin Heng, Vice President, Head of Data at Punchh.

Many of these insights are enabled by Tableau, which is used to produce analytics for internal and external stakeholders. Punchh has also begun using Tableau to prototype new products, saving the company significant time and costs.

We no longer have different versions of spreadsheets flying around. Every single employee is using Tableau as their source of truth.

Bringing trust and convenience to data analytics

Punchh's business is based on the value of data, so it's no surprise it has a strong data culture. The business' challenge before Tableau was that data was not always fast or easy to access, with spreadsheets used for internal analysis and reporting.

Discussing the reasons Punchh adopted Tableau; Heng pointed to the need for efficient and evidence-based decision-making.

"Imagine an executive wanting data to make a decision tomorrow and being told it would take seven days," said Heng. "They can't wait that long for a number to be crunched; they need data they can trust right away."

Tableau has met Punchh's need for fast, accurate insights. It was chosen partly because of its large number of connectors, enabling data to be visualized from virtually any source.

As a startup, we don't yet know what our infrastructure will look like in five years or even one, so the fact that Tableau connects to so many database technologies gives us long-term security.

For now, Tableau connects directly to an organized file store in Punchh’s data lake using AWS Athena. Tableau additionally connects to Snowflake and Databricks. This enables dashboards to be created and refreshed with the latest data from across the business, including POS, email, mobile, and SMS. It also means there's just one source of truth so that everyone can collaborate around the same data.

For example, each team has a dashboard to monitor their own KPIs and KPIs shared across the business. They can also come together to explore the data, whether to uncover new insights or make predictions.

Heng said that adoption had been easy because of employees' demand for data and because Tableau was intuitive to use.

"We no longer have different versions of spreadsheets flying around. Every single employee is using Tableau as their source of truth," said Heng.

Reducing time and cost of innovation

Punchh is also using Tableau to meet the needs of its customers. Custom dashboards complement the reporting and insights generated by its products and enable the business to be more responsive to individual customer requests.

For example, Punchh's analysts can create a new dashboard in Tableau in as little as four hours, whereas before, web developers had to be brought in for data visualization. Depending on the complexity, the creation of a dashboard previously took anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks.

Punchh is also using Tableau to prototype new products. In the past, the company would come up with a new concept and appoint a web developer to design a minimum viable product. Now, analysts can do this themselves in Tableau.

Our analysts are the ones who best know our data and our business, so it is much better for them to be able to design new dashboards or visualizations themselves. It also saves us a lot of time in product development so we can keep moving things forward.

Increasing the performance and ease of analytics

Punchh began using Tableau four years ago, starting with Tableau Server. It has since transitioned to Tableau Cloud, which has given it the flexibility to scale while eliminating time spent managing upgrades and server capacity.

The company has also benefited from the use of Tableau Extracts which has increased the speed and ease of working with large data sets. In particular, Punchh has experienced a 40% to 70% increase in performance by using Tableau Extracts to power live dashboards in its production environment.

The additional speed has been beneficial during the pandemic, as Punchh has been inundated with customer requests for new data insights.

"For these once-in-a-lifetime events, you can't rely on conventional thinking. You need to get innovative and start asking different questions," said Heng. "The trust and speed of data have been more important than ever during this time."