Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Drives Business Transformation Through Data Democratisation

5,000+ colleagues leverage Tableau for daily data-driven business decisions

11 Tableau instances consolidated to create one standard approach across Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Analytics Centre of Excellence drives journey from data ingestion to gaining valuable business insights to achieving positive customer impact

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, is dedicated to advancing global scientific progress across the areas of Life Science, Healthcare, and Electronics. By combining a passion for science and technology, with the natural curiosity of its 60,300 employees, the company’s products, services, and platforms make research simpler, more exact, and help deliver breakthroughs more quickly. 

The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, works to accelerate access to health for people everywhere by impacting life and health with science. To accelerate its customers’ journey to deliver life-saving therapeutics and uncover new opportunities, a single data visualization platform was needed for business insights. Tableau was selected in June 2019 as the tool of choice for the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Two years later, a global company-wide project was launched to leverage Tableau for data storytelling. 

Today, more than 5,000 colleagues leverage Tableau for daily data-driven business decisions. We spoke to Carsten Goepp, Life Science Analytics Centre of Excellence (ACE) Data Architecture & Data Engineer Lead (also known as Dr. Tableau within the data and analytics community), about how Tableau helps drive customer impact and business value, the Tableau community, and what this journey means for his colleagues.   

What challenges were you facing around data analytics?

The business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has more than 60,000 employees working across 66 countries to find solutions to some of today’s toughest challenges. Every part of the business needs accessible data and actionable insights to deliver the best service to our customers. Tableau was selected as the best tool for the job. Each business unit rolled out their own instance, resulting in 11 independent Tableau environments.

While Tableau is great and our teams were already creating business value, multiple instances created silos. This risked introducing inconsistencies. In 2020, in collaboration with the company’s IT team, we launched a project that led to the establishment of MTableau, a single Tableau platform for Merck KgaA, Darmstadt, Germany and its affiliates.

What was your vision for MTableau?

Our vision was to establish a global data community. We want to enable colleagues to quickly find insights to help our customers drive their scientific breakthrough journey. The goal was to define, design, and implement one Tableau solution for all operating models, roles, processes, and architecture. We took a holistic approach to the project implementation -- by aligning with business and IT stakeholders at the foundational stages. Ultimately, MTableau led to the creation of a standard approach that worked for everyone across the entire organisation.

Tableau is the perfect tool to enable data enthusiasts to build their own dashboard. It is self-service at its best. As we continue our MTableau journey, I look forward to colleagues not only consuming existing dashboards, but leveraging Tableau for live data explorations, and digging deeper to discover new insights to fuel collaboration.

What are your top tips for a successful implementation?

First, a centralised data source is critical to a successful Tableau project implementation. Before our Tableau adoption, our team launched a data repository to centralise our data. To date, our repository houses 1.5 petabytes of data (~270 data sets) from our SAP, ERP, CRM, HR, and supply chain systems. This makes it easy for end-users to interact and connect data for seamless visualization. 

Our adoption metrics speak for our progress. At the end of 2021, our monthly active users more than doubled – from 1,000 to over 5,000.

Secondly, treat the Tableau implementation as a change in culture, not just as a technology rollout. Use the Tableau Blueprint to learn about best practices. You should also have a clearly defined concept, raise awareness about the project, and engage with stakeholders as early as possible to align on ideas.

Finally, when it comes to user adoption, drive a self-serve analytics mindset, bring people together, and establish a spirit of collaboration.

From project request, data access, user licenses, dashboard deployments, to access management, our processes are designed for self-service. Self-service analytics goes beyond a “user does everything” mindset. It is essential to invest in end-user-friendly procedures. This provides flexibility and agility for users at the different stages of their journey. I see this as a great success model as 95% of our Tableau projects are based on a self-service model.

Additionally, Tableau is easy to learn which is crucial for an upskilling strategy. Provide a community and learning hub for colleagues to ask questions to learn from each other. For instance, our Tableau Knowledge Hub is a user-friendly portal offering video tutorials, knowledge articles, community forum, and contacts for additional support from the tech team.

How is MTableau changing your colleagues’ experience?

We now have readily available insights to impact our customers’ journey. To name a few: 

  • We can now help our customers move the need on their carbon footprint and sustainability goals while still focused on their scientific breakthrough journey. We do this by leveraging Tableau insights to offer greener alternative products to customers during a purchase -- thereby contributing the small positive shifts to their ambitious goals.
  • Additionally, scientists and researchers across different geographies need our product to advance their innovative scientific breakthroughs. Here, we leverage the Daily Executive Summary Tableau Dashboards to quickly find and connect with potential partners or customers across the different regions.

Ultimately, Tableau makes data accessible to more colleagues, which means more minds working together to create innovative new solutions that have a real impact on people’s lives. Data democratisation gives us a real edge over the competition.

What impact does this have on your colleagues?

Our colleagues have truly embraced the data and analytics transformation journey. One member of the leadership team shared this feedback when they started using Tableau: “I am awed about the analytics we can get out of this. It’s really a new way of looking at our numbers in a dynamic and real-time way. I can see how we can use Tableau in the future to deliver business insights in real-time.”

It is amazing to see the level of enthusiasm and engagement around knowledge and best practice sharing. Ultimately, Tableau makes data accessible to more colleagues, which means more minds working together to create new innovative solutions that have a real impact on people’s lives. Data democratisation gives us a real edge over the competition.

Why would you recommend Tableau to other companies?

I love Tableau. It is easy to access, analyse, and share insights with colleagues. We have a great partnership with the Tableau team which is built on trust. I am also impressed by the speed of Tableau’s innovation, providing new functionalities to help us achieve our data visualisation goals. We are also able to use the Tableau Enterprise Customer Group as a great channel to connect and collaborate with Tableau users. There is a real community spirit among Tableau clients globally.

Self-service analytics goes beyond a ‘user does everything’ mindset. It is essential to invest in end-user-friendly procedures. This provides flexibility and agility for end users at the different stages of their journey, to concentrate on building analytics solutions.

What’s next for Tableau and your colleagues?

Tableau is open to everyone across Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and its affiliates. Every team has the data available to focus on what they do best – driving impact. I am really excited to see the opportunities and creativity we can unlock in the future, and how this will help drive our customers’ scientific breakthrough journey.