Accenture's Global Workforce Sees the Big Picture with Tableau
As a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, Accenture employs approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. In this interview, Accenture Consultant Mike Gabour stopped by to talk about the role Tableau is playing in improving client services. “Tableau gives us the opportunity to display something to our users that they've never seen before,” he says.
Tableau: How is Tableau changing the field of management consulting?
Mike: This is something that's revolutionized the way I work with my team and show them what's in my mind, and my assumptions about what's happening in our data. In the past, data visualization [and] data validation was a very static and localized process. I could create something, and it was limited. Today, I can hook up Tableau to my existing data, understand it, and share my views on how to analyze that data like I've never been able to do before.
I'm able to sit down within a few hours and come up with some great insights to what we have just sitting in data warehouses, just waiting to be discovered. And I'm able to share that with my colleagues at a click of a button.
Tableau: How is Accenture using Tableau?
Mike: Our strategic workforce planning solution has a wide audience—from the executive level all the way down to the on the ground analysts. Tableau was able to help us cater to that audience by giving us an opportunity to create a dashboard that was drillable and able to view things at a high level of detail.
Tableau: What does Tableau help you do differently?
During a leadership call, someone can ask me [about] something that I haven't designed, and quickly I can redesign my entire workbook right in front of them and give them the answers in real time, which is something that I haven't been able to do anywhere else before.
Mike: Tableau allows us to connect to a variety of our external and internal databases at the click of a button. Now, we're able to visualize those outputs very easily, very quickly. During a leadership call, someone can ask me something that I haven't designed and quickly while I'm sharing my screen I can redesign my entire workbook right in front of them and give them the answers to the questions they've asked real time, which is something that I haven't been able to do anywhere else before.
Tableau: How did you get started with Tableau?
Mike: About two years ago, my senior management team tasked me with the project of creating a strategic workforce planning solution. But the Friday before my Monday meeting with leadership, the entire solution crashed. I threw it away and went online to try to find other options to help solve this business problem. I downloaded everything I could get my hands on, used it, and evaluated it. Tableau came out to be the only one that was scalable. It gave me flexibility and ease of use, and it provided the best option for our users, the best usability. I was able to build an entire solution that took me months with competing products and recreate it within one weekend.
Tableau: Who is using this information and what’s the impact?
Mike: Accenture is made up of multiple geographies all over the world, and each one of those geographies has a talent strategist that has to interact with the data for his particular geography as well as all other geographies that are affected by the loaning and borrowing of resources across the globe. The interesting thing we can do with Tableau is hook up into that massive view that has users all over the world interacting with the same integrated database, but at their level of detail from their perspective, which is really powerful and something we can't do anywhere else in the organization.
Tableau: How has that consolidated view impacted time savings?
Mike: Before we designed our strategic workforce planning solution in Tableau, we were working with separate Excel workbooks for each geography. This can be very cumbersome, difficult to use, slow, and not integrated at all. With Tableau we're able to have one dashboard for the entire organization. Now, each geography can log into the same view and access that data without having to worry about the source or the content; it's all one unified source.
Tableau: And you’ve given users the ability to work with data, too?
Mike: We created a subsequent tool that allowed users to interact with the data, to enter data and see those results in Tableau. The user interface allows our clients to log into the system, change their assumptions, and then realize those changes in Tableau. So they can make a change on a very granular level of detail, and find out what that's done to an entire geography or the organization as a whole. Rather than having to affect the complete database, they can just edit the parameters that are most important to them. We're able to give the user the ability to do a what-if analysis real time using real data, real assumptions at a level of detail that is meaningful to them.
Tableau: What’s the impact of Tableau on you personally?
Mike: Tableau has given me a reason to look at data a whole new way. It lets me interact with my data like I've never been able to. It’s given me the opportunity to be excited about my data, which is something that is very difficult to do when you're looking at a spreadsheet of numbers. There's not much going on there. When you're able to view things a different way, drill down, colorize, visualize, that's powerful. That's powerful, it gives me satisfaction, and it gives us the opportunity to display something to our users that they've never seen before.
Tableau: Why do you recommend Tableau?
Mike: Tableau is great because it allows you to scale. You can download it today, create your views, what you have in your head. But you don't stop there. You can begin with getting people excited about what you have, and naturally they'll want to share it. I'm able to go from my desktop and publish out to the Server with a click of a button with seamless integration—without having to do any re-work, not having to buy separate products.