Marico Limited: Tackling big data challenges with Tableau
Marico has a presence in 25 countries across emerging markets of Asia and Africa. The company nurtures brands like Livon, Parachute Advansed, Set Wet, Zatak, and Saffola. Shortly after purchasing Tableau, adoption quickly grew across the company. Today, Marico employees discuss data on a daily basis—something that Girish says “was not heard of three years back.” Business users have moved from static Excel reports towards an automated, visual approach to data. Using Tableau’s data connectors, the team can easily connect to data sources like SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) and Microsoft SQL Server. And with Tableau Server, the company ensures that the data is accurate and secure.
Tableau: Can you speak about your experience with Tableau? Girish Rao, Head of IT & Business Analytics: If you use Tableau, Tableau gives you nirvana as far as data visualization is concerned. Actually, you don't have to bother about how data will get visualized, or how data will be seen. You don't have to worry about comprehending data. You just have to bother and worry about how to get the data right, get it accurate, and get it in one place—even if it is in different data sources. But the fact of the matter is that you don't have to worry about visualization and comprehending. You just have to worry about getting the data there.
It was just an awesome feeling that we could just get it up and running and create prototypes within a few hours. That was a real good experience. And that experience has lived up to its expectation over the last three years.
Tableau: What was your first experience with Tableau? How has that changed over time? Girish: Three years back, when we were evaluating Tableau and we came across this tool when I ended up asking, “Okay, the question is, can I bet my career on this particular product?” So coming from a perspective where there was nothing—people had not heard about Tableau—from that stage, to a place where there are a lot of adopters. It’s good that I placed my bet on Tableau. I think it has yielded good results. I mean, we've gone a lot of distance. And what started as a small analytics day at Marico just to give a brief to our guys as to what analytics is all about, has actually flowered and transformed into a big journey. And having done that, I think over the years I've realized that Tableau has lived up to the expectations. And actually, I feel fulfilled of having made the right decision. Tableau: In your opinion, what is special about Tableau? Girish: So I think it was just an awesome feeling that we could just get it up and running and create prototypes within a few hours. That was a real good experience. And that experience has lived up to its expectation over the last three years. We came across Tableau by accident. We just downloaded a trial version on a Thursday, and the whole thing was up and running, and we were able to create prototypes by Monday.
From four days to a few hours
Tableau: How has your approach to data changed over the past three years? Girish: I think today people talk about analytics, people talk about visualization, people talk about automated reports, people talk about consuming data. This was not heard of three years back. As far as the business users are concerned, people want to just to do away with crunching information on Excel and move towards an automated, visualized data so that they can concentrate more on taking decisions rather than spending time on churning data. What we could develop in three to four days, now we're able to do it in a few hours. Tableau: What has been the impact on Marico? Girish: So if you go to each and every department [at Marico], people would say that time spent on crunching data and time spent on really consuming the information has come down. And they're able to concentrate more on analysis of information, more in terms of analyzing that information, more in terms of giving decisions to the business users.
Today people talk about analytics, people talk about visualization, people talk about automated reports, people talk about consuming data. This was not heard of three years back.
Tableau: What data sources do you analyze in Tableau? Girish: We have SAP as the biggest source. We have SAP BW as the next biggest source. We have lots of portals that generate information, which is there in SQL Server. So consuming data from different sources was traditionally the biggest challenge. How do we homogenize it, how do we harmonize it? Tableau: Can you share more about that challenge, and how Tableau helped you solve it? Girish: So with all this big data, there's a big data challenge. We have a data store where this comes in. And then we use Tableau to visualize it. So as far as big data is concerned, what happened is they were in different data sources. We were able to harmonize it and homogenize it in one place so that Tableau can consume it. Tableau: Has Tableau had a personal impact on you? Girish: It gives me great pride to say that Tableau actually helped me in taking the next leap in terms of using this information and converting this information for decision making.