Deloitte Builds a "Culture of Enablement" with Thousands of Tableau Users

Deloitte is the second-largest professional services network in the world. In this interview, Strategy and Operations Principal Ryan Renner shares how Tableau empowers thousands of Deloitte analysts to uncover insights faster.

Deloitte is the second-largest professional services network in the world. In this interview, Strategy and Operations Manager Ryan Renner shared how Tableau empowers thousands of Deloitte analysts to uncover insights faster.

Tableau: How are you using Tableau at Deloitte?
Ryan: We made a very conscious decision at Deloitte to use Tableau as our front-end visualization piece. What we're trying to do is make analytics real for our people and for our clients. Tableau has been a critical tool and enabler for us to do really transform how we visualize data and relay that on to our clients.

Tableau: Tableau helps you present insights to your clients?
Ryan: It’s insight to action. We don't sell analytics for analytics' sake. We help solve clients' problems. It’s really around helping them understand the "so what" in the analytics. And that's really where Tableau's plugged in for us. We have people who are just absolutely world class and outstanding at using big data and combining third-party external data feeds with clients' internal information to be both predictive and prescriptive. But we were looking for how to relay that information to our clients in a way that's much more digestible for them.

Tableau: What types of data sources are your clients using?
Ryan: No client has a single integrated instance. We have to work with them to put all the different data sources together so that we can conduct analysis. The beauty of Tableau is we can sit it on top of data sets from disparate systems-- both internal and external data as well as structured and unstructured-- and other analytics that we've done previously, and really tie it all together and create a compelling visual that our clients can digest—so ultimately, we can help them take action on it.

Tableau: Who inside your organization is using Tableau?
Ryan: We made the conscious choice of starting with Tableau at the staff level on down. So everybody from new-hire MBAs to people who come out of undergrad and campus have Tableau. And then we're pushing it to our managers all the way up through our principals, directors and other partners.

Tableau: How has Tableau changed how people work at Deloitte?
Ryan: When we gave them Tableau, it allowed them to reduce the time to insight. It's reduced the time that they have to spend on lower-value-add activities such as creating charts, synthesizing data, pulling all that together. They're more quickly -- can get to the "so what" or the "ah-hah." They're more willing and ready to share analysis faster than what's typically been expected. And when they have that excitement and that enthusiasm, it actually goes up through our organization and we hear very positive feedback from our leaders who now are using Tableau in things like performance evaluation and partner unit allocation.

Tableau: How have you seen the use of Tableau evolve and grow within your team?
Ryan: They’re now applying this not just to our clients, but to ourselves. The senior levels of our organization are now asking questions and actively coming to us saying, "How can I use Tableau to address the things that we've been wrestling with since the beginning of our business?"

Tableau: What’s been the business impact of Tableau?
Ryan: The impact we've seen is very positive uptick with our people, very positive feedback from our clients, and ultimately new and innovative approaches in our ability to commercialize that innovation much faster because now we have a common tool and a platform that we're leveraging versus disparate spreadsheets and analysis sitting on people's desktops.

Tableau: How is Tableau changing the way you work with your clients?

Tableau is changing the game for us.

Ryan: Tableau is changing the game for us because we can actually engage our clients early and often in data analysis, data exploration, and jointly discover with them versus present out to them. We’re actually engaging them, showing them their data in a different way that helps people emotionally connect with the analysis and the findings in a way that other mediums just don't allow you to do. We typically had to do tell-tells, now, we truly can do show-tells. I can hand a client an iPad, I can let them interact with their own data very quickly and efficiently. Tableau's allowed us to build the change with them much more naturally—exploring data with clients, going through the analysis with them, sitting down in joint discovery sessions versus the typical 120-slide deck that people gloss over after slide number five.

Tableau: What does all this mean for your relationships with your clients?
Ryan: The ability to share data interactively-- to open the curtains for a lot of them to see the inner workings of the analysis and what we're doing -- allows us to become much more credible with them. And it engages them in an emotional way that gets them to buy in that we're not only credible because we're good management consultants, we can help them visualize their data, come up with a recommendation much faster than others have.

Tableau: What’s the thing you love most about Tableau?
Ryan: Watching the light bulb go off every single time we start sharing this with a client on an iPad, on a desktop, through the Web. Sharing their analysis with them in a different way that they haven't seen before, that's what's been most exciting.

Tableau: What’s next for Deloitte and Tableau?
Ryan: We’re building a culture of enablement. This is not a command and control. We're going to give our practitioners the tools to succeed and then we're gonna enable them to continue to up the game with Tableau.

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