Tableau: And are you able to do that sort of root-cause analysis for challenges with no obvious solution?
Will: Well, we were just looking at data that we've only recently been able to look at. Looking at it in a different way showed us stuff that was totally surprising and which guided us finally in the right direction to solve the issue.
Tableau: Wow! Let’s take a step back—tell us a little about Tesla’s data environment. How does it fit with Tableau?
Will: We have data in a bunch of different sources. So being able to connect to multiple data sources, being able to do some blending, being able to use the extract API to connect different databases together. This provides us a ton of value right now with no effort from IT.
Tableau: Since implementing Tableau, how has your data become more manageable?
Will: You know, now someone can come to me in the hallway, talk to me about something they want to see, and sometimes I can publish a Tableau report in three hours after that. You know, not weeks, but hours. You know, this guy came and asked me for something he's been thinking about for the last couple of months and I made it for him in 30 minutes. He was blown away. So, the speed of making, publishing, and sharing with folks has just vastly accelerated.
Tableau: And are more people able to share and get insights from data now?
Will: So now—instead of having this small team of great engineers working on it with tons of other stuff on their plate—if we can provide the tool set, provide reports to a broad number of people, they can be answering their own questions, they can be looking at the stuff that I might never have known existed.
Tableau: It sounds like Tableau is really empowering people across the organization. Can you tell us more about that?
Will: Once you start giving access to data to people, they start asking you more questions. And there’s the ability to kind of dig deeper.
So I think there is a huge opportunity to provide a self-reliant environment for us, and a big key is making that self-reliant environment responsibly self-reliant. One of the big things I enjoy about Tableau is that we can give people the power to connect to data, but they can be either taught or they can be provided with a published data connection that is a good data connection. It's not giving them all the power in the world to go break something, it's giving them responsible power to do what they want to do.
Tableau: And how has that affected collaboration at Tesla?
Will: I think it's starting to unify a lot of different groups in Tesla looking at the same data, using the same reports, coming up with similar best practices. Before, kind of everyone got their data in whatever way they could; it was kind of split up in these little buckets. You e-mailed whoever you knew. Now, this is kind of leading the charge in a much more integrated effort, a cohesive effort in terms of our reporting, our analysis, you know, the way we look at data.
Tableau: How has it benefitted you? What do you enjoy about the software?
Will: Professionally, using Tableau has connected me with a lot more people. I get called down to the vehicle line to help them with their Tableau reports.
Tableau is often empowering to use. No—it's a mix of empowering and also it's that adventure of exploration that I think is a big part of it. A lot of the point is exploring the data that's out there, being surprised continually.
Tableau: Overall, how have teams as Tesla been impacted by Tableau?
Will: If we didn't have Tableau today, I think we'd be going backwards. I think we'd be taking a step backwards. I know I would be not doing my job as well or as fast or as efficient. I wouldn’t be able to share stuff with people as easily. It's a scary thought because I've been working with it for six months and I can't imagine going back.