Data visualization is a sure thing at SportsBet

Tableau: Tell us what you do at SportsBet?
Tony Gruebner, head of online analytics: I have a team of analysts, and we're very short on time. We've got a lot of people that are wanting a lot of stuff from us, as any analytical team is. So anything that can save time, anything that can give you the answer better is going to be—is going to be good for me.

Tableau: Can you describe the primary challenge in competing in the online betting industry?
Tony: We exist in a weird sort of industry where our products are relatively similar to our competitors' products. There's not that much that differentiates it. So the differentiating factor is basically being smarter and the way to be smarter is being smarter with your data. So in terms of our industry, I think it's paramount to be quick. Our industry also being fully digital and dealing in the online space, our competitors have a lot of data available to them, as do we. But it's a matter of actually turning that data into something, into an insight, and it's a matter of acting quickly. And because you're digital as well, things can move a lot faster. Campaigns can go up a lot quicker, and people can change their promotions a lot faster than maybe in the traditional sort of offline world.

Tableau: How does Tableau fit into that?

Tableau allows you to be smarter faster. It's a very quick-moving industry. You can't wait weeks to do pieces of analysis and weeks to act on things or else you will miss the boat.

Tony: Tableau allows you to be smarter faster. It's a very quick-moving industry. You can't wait weeks to do pieces of analysis and weeks to act on things or else you will miss the boat.

Tableau: What were things like before Tableau?
Tony: A lot of the analysis that we'd been doing had been sort of with Excel and tools that probably weren't really suited to what we're doing. The analysis itself was taking a lot more time. And it wasn't as enriched as well because, when you're analyzing data, you want as much data as you can. You don't want to have to be stuck on a certain answer because the data set basically only allows you to go with that answer.

Tableau: So Tableau helps you track customer data?
Tony: We can see everything the customer does. There's nothing that goes untracked. The flip side of that is we have an awful lot of data, and there's only X amount of people that can analyze that data and make sense of it. So this is where we need the likes of Tableau to come in and help to sort through that data a lot faster and be smarter with the decisions that we make.

Tableau: What does this speed mean for your company?
Tony: Being able to get to answers faster is a big thing. I mean, we need to be smarter than our competitors.

Tableau: Do you use Tableau yourself?
Tony: It's also helped me, when I have to roll my sleeves up and get into the analysis and whatever, it's -- I find that as a tool, it's very easy to use and I enjoy using Tableau, actually.

Tableau: Is there anything you would want to share with someone considering Tableau for the first time?
Tony: To get it up and running properly, you need to train users to get the best out of the tool. So it's not like you can install it and it's a magic bullet and overnight you're got what you need. But compared to other technology projects, I would say it's very good. And, I mean, we've already spoken about the benefits of it. I think those benefits definitely outweigh the cost. I mean, in terms of return on investment, I think the thing definitely pays for itself.

One of the problems with Tableau—and this is a funny problem—is that from an IT point of view, it's almost too simple to get it set up and running. I think when they see how simple it is, it scares them a little bit and it makes them think, "Why is it so easy?"