FastLane Automotive Intelligence (FLA) is a market intelligence provider for automotive and finance industries, based in Gurgaon, India. The company has been operational since 2010. Since September 2014, FLA has access to pan-Indian vehicle registration data from the Road Transportation Authority (RTO) of India sourced from a legitimate government source. The team at FLA combines this data with existing industry expertise to provide customers with key industry insights and data that create a lasting impact on their growth strategies.
Using Tableau, FLA has been able to deliver reliable industry data and competitive insights to its customers in the form of interactive reports, heat maps etc., which provide visibility into data and trends. Tableau enables FLA to generate these reports without significant time investments.
A need for interactive, visual reporting
FastLane has access to data on any new vehicle registration—passenger and commercial—for all types of vehicles. Using this information, FastLane has the ability to provide specific data to customers to help them establish better service networks and decide on growth strategies.
For example, FastLane helps customers compare their market share with the competitor market share in a particular region. The region can be defined as a pin code or locality or state. This helps customers gauge the potential/opportunity to grow in that particular area.
The company also supports banks and financial institutions with the data they need to approve loan disbursement. Banks cannot process loans unless they have authentication details from the Road Transportation Authority. FastLane provides the required data.
When FastLane started offering these services, the company needed a tool that would enable it to provide effective insights to clients in the form of dashboards, graphs, and interactive reports. For the reports to be useful to customers, they needed to be interactive. For example, if the value changed for a particular number in the table, the maps and dashboards needed to automatically recalibrate to reflect the change.
The tool also needed to enable online report sharing with customers. At the same time, it was necessary that it work well with Hadoop, since all company data was stored in a Cloudera Hadoop framework.
The company considered using Cognos, but Abhishek Bhardwaj, Head of Business Technology at FastLane India, had used it in his previous organization and was unhappy with the quality of output, especially the level of interactivity that the dashboards allowed. Also, the fact that report generation in Cognos required some technical skills was a drawback.
Given his past experience with Tableau, Abhishek recommended that the company invest in Tableau to analyze its 200 million rows of raw data (approximately one terabyte of data). Fastlane worked with Bangalore, India-based firm, Data Semantics Pvt. Ltd for this implementation.
Providing customized insights to customers
FastLane began its engagement with Tableau in the form of a single Desktop access. Over the last few months, FastLane has added four more Tableau Desktop licenses. Currently, there are three people authoring Tableau, with data being accessed by about eight users.
FastLane provides customers about five to six types of dashboards using Tableau. For example, one of them is an open opportunities dashboard. There are three reports as part of this dashboard. One is a heat-map of the region, the second is a basic table and the third is a map of the area.
As Abhishek explains, “If we want to illustrate the open opportunity in any region to our client, we showcase parameters such as the national average, regional average, and potential for sales. We calculate the performance potential of the market based on some KPIs. We also provide insights into the projected sales that the company needs to generate in order to meet its projected growth numbers.”
Quicker reporting means lower time to market
Two of the most useful characteristics of Tableau are speed of report generation and the fact that users can publish reports without the need to master any additional technical skills, according to Abhishek. Additionally, its direct connector to Cloudera Hadoop and built-in functions such as table calculations and predictive analytics makes it extremely valuable for FastLane’s sales team.
Reports that would otherwise take about 10 hours to generate, can be generated in an hour or two, using Tableau. FastLane also extensively uses Tableau’s mapping capability. This not only cuts cost but also eliminates the burden of sourcing compatible map software from outside.
“But for Tableau, our report deliveries would have been delayed considerably and our time-to-market would have increased,” said Abhishek. “Our customers also appreciate the fact that we provide informative and interactive reports with an accurate physical representation.”
As its business grows, FastLane plans to invest in additional Tableau licenses to support its requirements. While Tableau is currently being used mainly to support FastLane’s automotive business, plans are underway to extend its usage to the financial business arm as well. The company also plans to invest in Tableau Server to meet some its client requirements.