Hult International Business School automates reports & leverages data connectors

Hult International Business School offers global programs for business students. Hult’s network of seven campuses in international markets gives students an opportunity to study in a variety of business settings and cultures.

In the past, Hult served campus decision makers with ad hoc reports, created in Excel. Zeeshan Zuberi, Technical Director at Hult, was tasked with making data available to staff members across the organization. The catch? The new solution had to connect to Hult’s Salesforce data, as well as their learning management system, available on Amazon Redshift. He also had to avoid the steep development effort involved in creating a central reporting system.

When Zeeshan discovered the ease and convenience of Tableau Desktop, he decided that it would be the tool of choice at Hult to help create a culture of self-service analytics. To manage permissions, the IT team at Hult implemented Tableau Server. In Server, the team could apply relevant user filtering for each campus.

Today, Hult distributes many dashboards through Tableau Server, including their automated sales and marketing dashboard. The dashboard is currently helping leaders and C-level officers make educated decisions on a daily basis.

Tableau: What made you interested in Tableau?
Zeeshan Zuberi, Technical Director: Last year, I was asked to look into how we can make data available to our staff members all across the organization.

When I saw how easy and convenient it is to look and visualize data, I immediately thought that this would be our tool of choice at Hult International Business School.

Tableau: How did you roll out Tableau across the organization?
Zeeshan: We started partnering with other departments where we had data end users and we tried asking them to start becoming comfortable with Tableau Desktop.

While doing so, we were also rolling out the visualizations that we built on Tableau Server for these people to benefit from. And this is how we started rolling out Tableau slowly across the organization.

When I saw how easy and convenient it is to look and visualize data in Tableau, I immediately thought that this would be our tool of choice at Hult International Business School.

Tableau: Are you receiving a positive response from employees?
Zeeshan: The adoption for Tableau has been fantastic. So I would say I never saw any other software package adopted that fast. And with that, we were also able to surface dashboards very rapidly. So compared to traditional reporting systems where report developers are too worried about formatting the report their selves, not just about preparing data.

Tableau: Can you give an example of a dashboard that you share through Tableau Server?
Zeeshan: One of the first dashboards that we built on Tableau was about our sales marketing curves, which has been developed on Excel in the past and it has been used for years.

Tableau: How has that sales and marketing report changed now that it’s a Tableau dashboard?
Zeeshan: Once we automated that dashboard on Tableau, we got this "wow" from the whole organization. And currently, the consumers of those dashboards involve most of the C-level officers and our regional heads, which essentially lets them look at how their weekly sales are doing.

Which was impossible previously without churning lots of data every Monday morning where a couple of individuals who used to wake up so early in the morning, now we don't have to worry about that, it's a completely automated process.

And for that reason, we were specifically looking for bringing the culture of self-service analytics, and this is where Tableau helped us.

Tableau: Where do you store your sales data and how do you pull it into Tableau?
Zeeshan: So like any other typical educational institution, we have got a CRM, which is cloud-based CRM, and Tableau, thankfully, has a connector already available. So at times, we directly connect through the connector available with Tableau.

We have learning management system, which is also cloud based, and they have their data warehouse available on Amazon Redshift, we connect to that as well.

Tableau 9.1 has been something really wonderful because we connect to lots of Web-based data sources. And right now, because we don't have the ability to connect directly to those data sources, I believe it's going to save us some tremendous effort.