Decision Resources Group produces “wow” factor with Tableau dashboards

Decision Resources Group (DRG) helps pharmaceutical and medical technology companies manage and use their data. DRG is an OEM partner that embeds Tableau into its products. Before Tableau, the DRG team was looking for a tool that was flexible and easy to use—but powerful enough to handle their technical needs. In this video, Chief Data Officer Brigham Hyde speaks about how Tableau has helped DRG:

  • Quickly form hypotheses, with the option for powerful statistical analysis
  • Allow employees to create dashboards within 30 minutes
  • Communicate complex ideas to clients in a simple way

Getting value out of data

Tableau: What are the data challenges of your job? Brigham Hyde, Chief Data Officer: One of the key factors for us is how to continue to communicate value to our clients. It's no longer good enough just to have the data and leave them with the responsibility of turning it into value. And we're constantly looking for ways to respond to their questions and come up with new solutions for them. Tableau gives us a great way to do that. We do a lot of rapid prototyping of ideas with clients in Tableau and customize many deliverables through it. Tableau: Tell us more about your company. Brigham: Decision Resources Group is a healthcare information firm. We provide unique and valuable data to broad pharmaceutical companies and medical technology companies and the life science industry. We also advise our clients, through service engagements or consulting engagements, and we provide report content. Tableau: What led you to Tableau? Brigham: I think first, we wanted to look at having a tool that was formidable enough to handle our technical needs: both rigorous quantitative models and statistical power, but also the ability to play with the data and explore different hypotheses quickly. And of course, really easy to use, easy to adopt, click and drag sort of modern feel to the application. Tableau: So you’ve found Tableau easy to use? Brigham: It's very quick to engage. You can get quickly to deployment. And there was just a lot of satisfaction on the analyst's part when that happened, and there were a lot of instant fans, I would say. Tableau: What are some of your main uses of Tableau? Brigham: We're a product company, and in some cases, we need to use Tableau to create products. The OEM system within Tableau is fantastic for that. You know, scalability and again, ease of entrance, make it something that doesn't have to be the Magna Carta of deals to get started. But there's support to expand as you need to and as you need to grow. So I think they've been great on flexibility and helping us figure out how to adapt rapidly and keep pace with our users who start to create things really fast, as soon as you give them the Desktop licenses. Our clients' reactions that moment where you reveal your dashboard—it's like revealing a work of art that you've created. I think we can really communicate complex ideas with them. And we've talked about a wow factor. Usually their reaction is, "How'd you do that?"

Everybody can make a dashboard in the first 30 minutes, without having to know complex database technology or having to know the data completely inside and out from a domain perspective.

Tableau is "the people's champion."

Tableau: What were the data needs of people at DRG? Brigham: Having analysts in the healthcare space that are extremely quantitative, the things that they focused on were: having the capability to do the high-end analyses they wanted to do, the analytical models, the statistical packages, but also being able to experiment with data. Tableau: And how would describe the impact of Tableau? Brigham: The impact that Tableau has had on the health industry, I would say to date, it has started to take us out of the Stone Age. Healthcare suffers from different data challenges than other big data areas: siloed data kept separate, historically and by regulation—and now needing to blend and combine data sources and solve complex problems. The ability to get rapid prototypes, test hypotheses, and explore data is almost as critical as the ultimate analysis. We spend a lot of time focusing on predicting how disease treatment will be carried out, and whether or not a drug is going to work. Tableau enabled me to do things that turned that power over to the user. So focusing on your assumptions and the quality of those in the medical sphere as opposed to just the numbers, and spending your time on those key details as opposed to working with the data ad nauseam is a much better use of time. Tableau: How does Tableau compare to other programs and tools? Brigham: I think a lot of database tools really lack that play factor, which is where a lot of great ideas come from. That and the user experience being very click and drop and modern gave it advantages not only over the way we were doing things, but over other BI tools that we tried. Tableau: Did Tableau spread within the company? Brigham: Something we saw organically having multiple BI tools, no matter what we tried to make them do, they migrated to Tableau, and you've got to listen to the people. Tableau: What makes Tableau so person-friendly? Brigham: I think the reason that Tableau is the people's champion if you will, is that you get an easy win right away. Everybody can make a dashboard in the first 30 minutes, without having to know complex database technology or without having to know completely the data inside and out from a domain perspective. So there's a rewarding feeling of making your first dashboard. And I think after that, the reason it sticks is that the transparency of the tool lets people explore things and learn on their own. So to a certain level there's not much training that's required, people teach themselves, and I think those two things make it really satisfying to use. Tableau: Was communicating with clients a factor too? Brigham: Yes. Being experts in the healthcare arena but having to use advanced modeling techniques through Excel and other database programs, we sought a better way to communicate our results to our clients.