Peter Appel Transport: Data analysis, made simple with Tableau

Peter Appel Transport delivers transport services in the Netherlands, innovating new ways to transport temperature-controlled materials. Before Tableau, Business Analyst Gert-Jan Neeft remembers working with data in Microsoft Excel and Access. The process was time-consuming and the end-results weren’t pleasing to Peter Appel Transport's business analysts or customers. With Tableau, data is now enjoyable and easy—so easy that Gert-Jan was able to make his first business report on just his second day using the software. In this video, Gert-Jan discusses how data analysis is now faster, more efficient, and more enjoyable thanks to self-service analytics. (Video in Dutch)

Tableau: What has been the best part of using Tableau so far? Gert-Jan Neeft, Business Analyst: If you have a question you ask it and the nice thing is that it is used in all time zones, so when I’m lying in bed, the answer is, just say, being written. And the next morning I can go further with my question or with the challenge that I have. And that is simply fantastic. Tableau: What led you to Tableau? Gert-Jan: Our attention was actually drawn to QlickView by our accountant. We had a demo of it, but I myself found it quite complicated and not very intuitive for being able to do something with one or two data sets. I then went to the best known search engine, Google, and very quickly hit upon Tableau. I had never heard of it, but I could have a 14-day free download. I did that very quickly and I actually went to work without anything–without training, without people that I knew. I was simply playing with it in the evenings. Tableau: Did you find Tableau to be user-friendly? Gert-Jan: Without ever having seen or used the tool, I had actually made my first report on the second evening. That's what made me very excited. I thought, yes, this is it. And then we really stopped the whole selection procedure. I went to my director, Peter Appel and told him we need this. And I must have a license and we must set to work. And that is like our philosophy: just do! And he said, yes, you are a specialist in this field and if you say that we need this then we need this and then we shall do it.

Without ever having seen or used the tool, I had actually made my first report on the second evening. That's what made me very excited. I thought, yes, this is it.

Tableau: How has Tableau changed your job? Gert-Jan: I was working a lot with data and did it with Excel, Access, with all kinds of tools. And with Tableau, life became only more enjoyable and it is much faster, it is much easier, you can do a lot more with it, you can share much more easily with people, give access, authorize. The whole concept is really what I would like to have as a BI specialist within Peter Appel transport, yes it is available with the package. I receive data sets from customers, you read them in, and you can get to work. I can simply get to work myself. That makes life a great deal simpler and more enjoyable. I no longer have to wait for other people. I no longer have questions for other people because I can simply do it myself. And with the dashboards that I have made, I can very quickly give access to the right people within the organization. They can start working with the data. They sometimes come back with questions, such as, "I would also like this, I would also like that." We go and sit with it for half an hour and it is drag and drop, “sleur en pleur” in Dutch, and that makes me happy. Tableau: Have you found the Tableau community to be helpful? Gert-Jan: The community is so large, so you learn very easily very quickly each day. And as a result your dashboards become only better, even more beautiful, even quicker. I say, it is really a kind of a drug, actually. It is really a kind of an addiction. You only want it and you only want more. You only want to go faster. You will want to get everything out of the tool that you can. And I have now landed a little bit in that phase. I follow a lot of blogs and YouTube channels. I read, watch, save, and start working with everything that I can find about Tableau. Tableau: How has Tableau helped you accomplish your data goals? Gert-Jan: If I look at myself, I would be very busy preparing a report and that really provided a single insight and that was it. And sometimes a week’s data came along and you refreshed it and that was that. But you want to go further, you really want to give it to the user, so that they can start working very interactively with that data. And can actually further increase their understanding. That is actually what I have managed to achieve with Tableau.