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Before Tableau, the Army generals were dealing with reports that were painstakingly prepared by hand and reflected “stale data” and a “hierarchical and vertical perspective that was not integrated,” Driessnack said. Analysis and collaboration were difficult if not impossible under those conditions.
“Information used to be power,” he said. “There were these brokers of information and you had to be real nice to them to get your information.”
“The way it would work in the Pentagon, you would brief it up to the Chief of Staff of the Army and that was a month-long process to get through all the gate-keepers to get up there. Then the Chief would ask a question. How long would it take the Chief to get an answer? Forever,” he said.
Now these questions are being answered with a click of a mouse. Driessnack often hears the comment from analysts about the speed of visualizing data with Tableau. “You just showed me my entire analysis and created the view that would have taken me an entire week to do with Powerpoint,” he said.
"I'm talking about from the four-star general all the way down to the analyst and they're seeing it all at the same time," he said. “Transparency: that is a beautiful thing.”
Tableau’s interactive nature has also been a game changer for the Army. “When you have data that is integrated and you can interact with it, then that is a completely different way of thinking about a problem,” Driessnack said. “Now you have all the information you can use to collaborate. So, you have this discussion and it goes beyond the current situation to what’s going to happen and what are the alternatives. Those things just happen naturally as you are looking at the data,” he said.Watch a video from the Army Materiel Command featuring Tableau dashboards.