Certis sharpens insights and achieves cost savings with Tableau


Cut analysis time from hours to minutes
Improved customer service with advanced insights
Built a culture of self-service analytics

Certis is a leading security organization providing a suite of services integrating advanced security, facilities management and customer service. In 2017, Certis started an internal digital transformation drive with data analytics as a key component. Vice President of Applied Data Science Samuel Low and his team of data scientists deployed Tableau as an enterprise-wide visual analytics tool. He shares how Tableau helped Certis get more insights out of their data to save time and improve the quality of their services.

Before Tableau, our teams could not do data analysis or the typical things you can do on Tableau like drilling down and filtering (data). Now we use Tableau to show customers the reports, and they are frequently amazed.

Improved customer service with timely advanced insights

Customer service is a key priority for Certis, serving a clientele of government agencies and large enterprises in Singapore and across regional markets. Before Tableau, the process of building reports for customers was very manual. Teams had to retrieve data from the database, import it into Excel and churn out Excel reports manually. All this was not only time-consuming, but also provided limited insights. They were unable to analyze their data or drill down to investigate problem areas.

With Tableau, the operations team in Certis can now monitor alarm activations and analyze trends. Managers can swiftly identify spikes and investigate unexpected trends in alarm activations. For example, construction work can trigger off an alarm spike. With a monitoring dashboard in Tableau, Certis operations managers can now explain the reason for anomalies. While previously the team could only collate monthly customer reports, they can now engage customers on a more timely and frequent basis, improving the quality of their services.

Operations managers used to spend up to five hours daily scanning through spreadsheets manually to identify carparks that were missed out. Now with Tableau, everything is instant and they are able to analyze the data in a matter of minutes.

Achieved time and cost savings by detecting lapses

Tableau has also helped Certis save costs and improve productivity across different departments. One example is the carpark enforcement project commissioned by the Singapore government to ensure that parking wardens patrol their carparks a certain number of times a day. Samuel and his data science team created a real-time dashboard to monitor daily progress and send out alerts to the wardens when lapses are detected in certain areas. This helps Certis save costs by reducing penalties, and also save man hours.

Previously, operations managers had to manually scan through spreadsheets to identify carparks that were missed out, taking up to five hours each day, shares Samuel. “Now with Tableau, everything is instant and they are able to analyze the data in a matter of minutes.”

Another successful project with Tableau is procurement analytics. Samuel and his team built a compliance checking engine and visualized the generated data in Tableau. The procurement team uses Tableau to track company purchases and ensure they fall within certain expense limits. Helping business units comply enables the company to reduce potential costs pre-auditing.

The Tableau dashboard has also helped the team analyze purchase trends and adjust approval limits and purchase categories when needed to reduce time spent on getting approvals.

I think we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor in this digitalization drive. Tableau has helped us empower people with self-service analytics.

Accelerating digital transformation with self-service analytics

As part of the digitalization drive in Certis, all business units have started to use Tableau in their work. Among the 1,000 management and professional staff at the Certis head office, more than 200 are trained in Tableau and now serve as Tableau champions within their teams. The growing culture of self-service analytics within Certis frees up time and resources for the data science team to focus on more advanced analytics projects.

A truly gratifying moment for the data science team was when one of the operations departments used Tableau to develop their own customer reports on their own, without any assistance. “We didn’t hand-hold them at all, and they did everything from scratch, on their own,” shares Samuel.

The data science team even conducted their own internal Tableau clinic within Certis, where the more proficient Tableau users asked questions about more advanced concepts like joins, and when to use a certain viz versus others.

“So I think we are really starting to see the fruits of our labor in this digitalization drive. Tableau has helped us empower people with self-service analytics,” says Samuel.

Data is part of our everyday life, but it’s about getting more value out of it to maximize competitive advantage. And that’s where Tableau’s data visualization and ease of doing analytics comes in.

Moving forward, Samuel plans to further improve the quality of insights Certis gets from Tableau, and foster greater collaboration among teams through conversations with data.

“An operations-heavy organization like Certis generates a lot of data every day. Data is part of our everyday life, but it’s about getting more value out of it to maximize competitive advantage,” says Samuel.

“And that’s where Tableau’s data visualization and ease of doing analytics comes in.”