Experian uses Tableau’s deep analytics to deliver targeted community care during the COVID-19 pandemic


Safeguard dashboard makes life-saving insights available to 70+ public organisations across the UK
Fully customisable dashboard developed and delivered in just two weeks using Tableau
Tableau Server deployment on AWS provides unlimited scalability

Experian is the world's leading global information services company, with operations in 37 countries around the world. Originally founded in 1996, it employs over 17,000 staff and generates annual revenues in excess of $5 billion (FY2020). Here, Sarah Robertson, Product Director at Experian, discusses Tableau’s pivotal role in the company’s new Experian Safeguard dashboard, a powerful analytics tool that helps public organisations use demographic data to pinpoint and protect vulnerable communities from COVID-19.

What is Experian Safeguard?

Experian Safeguard combines open-source data with Experian’s own proprietary ConsumerView data files and presents it at the local authority level via a fully customisable Tableau dashboard. The tool is free to use for public organisations and gives them fast access to key insights about their local communities. This could help, for example, to pinpoint areas where there’s a high concentration of people over 70 and/or living alone, as well as those with low household incomes. By analysing where these different factors converge, organisations can quickly identify vulnerable areas that likely require extra care and support.

Why did you choose Tableau for this project?

Thanks to our existing relationship with Tableau in both the UK and US, where Tableau forms part of our Ascend Analytical Sandbox, we knew that Tableau's deep analytics and high-quality visualisation capabilities made it a great fit for the project. Firstly, we wanted Experian Safeguard to be accessible to a wide range of organisations, which meant a Tableau Server solution worked extremely well. Secondly, we wanted it to be easy to pick up and use without the need for training and Tableau’s intuitive user interface allows people to do exactly that. Finally, we wanted it to be fully scalable, which we could achieve very easily by deploying Tableau in an Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment. Another key factor was speed to market. Unlike many products and solutions, which go through multiple concepts and test stages, we wanted to make Experian Safeguard available as quickly as possible, so we needed to use tools that allowed us to do that. Tableau’s ease of use, combined with a wealth of pre-existing internal development knowledge, meant we were able to take Experian Safeguard from concept to deployment in just two weeks.

Another key factor was speed to market [...] we were able to take Experian Safeguard from concept to deployment in just two weeks.

How many organisations are using the dashboard at present?

We currently have around 70 public organisations using it to identify and care for at-risk members of their communities. The dashboard is free to use on a ‘data for good’ basis, meaning it’s not open to commercial users like supermarkets, but is widely available to local authorities, NHS Trusts, emergency services and charities. One example is the Trussell Trust, which is using Tableau heat maps to help establish the best locations for new food banks, and where they will reach the highest number of people.

How important do you think data has been during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As a data person, it’s been incredibly interesting to see how the UK government has used it to effectively communicate with the population as a whole. Dashboards and visualisations showing demographics overlaid with COVID cases and deaths have played an increasingly central role in keeping the public informed as the pandemic evolves. Data will likely be even more important in the aftermath, as we try to gain a better understanding of what happened and how we can avoid something similar in future. Many people are already saying that data is the new gold or the new oil, and this will only be more true as time goes by.

What are your future plans for Tableau within Experian UK?

We already use Tableau for client deliveries and are always looking to extend our use of technology to deliver the best for our clients. Data visualisation and storytelling go hand in hand, helping people to spot trends quickly and understand what they mean. As such, the use of powerful visualisation technologies like Tableau will undoubtedly play a big role in our future.