Wheaton Industries answers questions in seconds with Tableau Cloud

Wheaton Industries has provided medical equipment to scientists for more than a hundred years. But time-sensitive decisions were delayed by out-of-date analytical tools based on pivot tables and Excel sheets, with no visualization capabilities. In this video, Chris Gildea, VP of Sales, North America talks about how now, with Tableau Cloud, he can consult his dashboards in meetings, and find answers to business questions within 30 seconds. This has inspired a new interest in gathering quality data from distribution channels, customers, supply chain, and finance. Today, the sales teams access Tableau Cloud dashboards on mobile devices, where they can answer sales and product questions and identify trends. As more departments adopt Tableau Cloud, Chris is confident that “everybody's going to be using it one day, we plan on that for sure.”

Tableau: How has Tableau Cloud changed your daily work at Wheaton? Chris Gildea, VP of Sales, North America: This is the first time in my career over the past two years, where I can snap my fingers on a dashboard and determine what it is I need to know within 30 seconds. In the past, I'd have to go to the literature, I'd have to research it for a week. I'd have to say something out loud as an opinion in a meeting and then go find the data to prove it. Now, with Tableau, I can find that information before I even leave the meeting room. So I can make a justifiable business decision before I get out of the chair. And everybody in the entire board organization will say, "Let's go with that." Because you have the data to prove it. I didn't have to go research it. And it increases the speed at which we can do business. Tableau: How does your scientific background contribute to your work with Tableau? Chris: As scientists, we want to find the result that is the most truthful result that we can tease out of the experiment. On the business side, it's the same thing. So we put our life science world together with our business world and we can answer questions for our customers and for ourselves using the Tableau environment. Tableau: How did you do data analysis before Tableau? Chris: When I started at Wheaton, we were using spreadsheets for the most part. A lot of very large pivot tables. And data was not a culture at Wheaton. We had a lot of opportunity to look at the data that we were collecting from our distribution channels as well as from our customers, and even some of our supply chain metrics and financial metrics and said, "How do we take all of this and put it in one little, compact bucket that we can look at from a senior executive standpoint as well as a field sales associate or marketing?" And when we decided to move forward with Tableau, which is something that our sales and commercial organization decided to do, it was like a breath of fresh air. We could see our data, we could visualize things happening on maps and find trends in our data as well.

When we looked at Tableau Cloud, it was an easy choice. We had the ability to upload some basic data sets and manipulate them, make them what we wanted them to be, and then publish it to the world and then get immediate feedback.

Tableau: Why did you choose Tableau Cloud? Chris: When we looked at [Tableau] Online, it was an easy choice. We had the ability to upload some basic data sets and manipulate them, make them what we wanted them to be, and then publish it to the world and then get immediate feedback. Tableau: Why did you choose to analyze Salesforce data in Tableau? Chris: So we love Salesforce and it does a great job as a CRM and a lot of what it's supposed to do, but at the same time, the analytics aren't so sexy. So we like to pull everything out and put it in Tableau. Tableau: How did you get started with Tableau Cloud? Chris: So it started out as a sales platform. And we wanted to communicate where sales were occurring, what sales were occurring, what types of products. It was answering the questions who, what, where, when, how. And we could push that out in the cloud. Tableau: Has use of Tableau Cloud expanded beyond the sales organization? Chris: So we enabled our selling organization on mobile devices. They all have iPads. They have their Galaxy Notes. It was a way for us to just push legacy sales data out so they could look at the past. We started looking at it from the standpoint of there is more functionality in this business that we can use data for. So we expanded it from sales to marketing to finance to supply chain. And it continues to percolate through the organization. We're going to get there. Everybody's going to be using it one day, we plan on that for sure. Tableau: What kind of problems were you looking to solve when you found Tableau? Chris: Without internal communications, with factual data, we were useless. When Tableau came on board, the ah-hah moment was we can now communicate with each other, which means that we can ask our customers what they need as well. And that was very important for our future. Tableau: It seems like communication is a critical aspect of your Tableau installation. Chris: We said that we want to make sure that we can communicate. The number-one thing that we need from ourselves is to communicate internally, that's how a business moves forward and that's how you treat customers the way they want to be treated. Tableau: Did that change how you worked with your customers? Chris: Customers were not necessarily giving us verbatim what they wanted, but they were giving us Internet-based data, cloud-based data that we could then take, interpret, and run it through a marketing logarithm that we could figure out what it is that we needed to do to advance ourselves and become a company that stays around for another 120 years. Tableau: Can you explain the “internet-based data” your customers were giving you? Chris: They were giving us this feedback through Google, through all different types of web-based platforms that we could gather data and collect trend-based information, so when someone searches for a glass vial, what is it that they're looking for specifically and what can we take from that data to determine what we would come out to market with? Tableau: So how do you use Tableau on a daily basis now? Chris: I'm going to test it. If I don't like it, I'm going to change it. And I can do that very quickly with Tableau Cloud, even simply changing the title on the dashboard is very easy for us to do and we manage it all within our own commercial group.