Polysphere delivers data insights to customers 50% faster than the competition with Tableau


Embedded analytics creates new products and revenue streams from existing systems
Customers self-serving analytics up to 50% faster than competitors
Accurate performance analysis for 30,000+ customer employees

Polysphere is a dynamic, niche focused consulting and software company specialising in the use of data analytics and bespoke applications to solve key business challenges in the commercial mining industry. Based in South Africa, it develops systems that enhance mine management at an operational level by improving processes, insights and performance tracking. Polysphere uses Tableau to deliver fast, accurate analytics to customers via embedded dashboards. Its ease of use and intuitive functionality have allowed Polysphere to cut its system production times in half, providing a significant competitive advantage and putting key insights into the hands of customers much faster than previously possible. Cloud based delivery also means no installation is required on users’ machines, while its rich visual analytics provide a real ‘wow factor’ that consistently blows customers away.

Once we started using Tableau Embedded things really exploded for us.

Rich visual analytics deliver a ‘wow factor’ not possible with other platforms

Polysphere has been developing new management systems and tools for the mining industry for over 14 years. The company’s first tool was an employee bonus administration system, helping customers track performance over time and assign bonuses to large numbers of employees accordingly. Since then it has grown to deliver a wide range of data-based systems and solutions that help customers enhance management at an operational level. Initially, Polysphere used a combination of Excel, SQL based tools and third party services for the majority of its report analytics, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t a viable way of doing things.

“Some of our customers have upwards of 30,000 employees so there’s a lot of data involved. Manually adding analytics elements to our reports via tools like Excel was incredibly time consuming. On the other hand, using third party services was prohibitively expensive,” says Raf Bryla, Managing Director of Polysphere. “We knew we needed a better solution that we could control ourselves but was capable of quickly producing the kind of rich insights our customers were looking for.”

Polysphere evaluated QlikView, Microsoft Power BI and Tableau but quickly settled on Tableau due to its ease of use and compatibility with the way Polysphere develops its existing solutions. Following a successful trial period, the company implemented Tableau Desktop for development and Tableau Reader to deploy analytics to customers. More recently, it has started delivering visualisations directly to customers using Tableau Embedded, making analytics even simpler and more accessible.

“Once we started using Tableau Embedded things really exploded for us,” says Raf. “Everything is delivered via Tableau Server, so customer don’t have to install anything on their machines in order to start viewing and interrogating the data. They soon started requesting more and more Viewer licenses for their teams. In the last six months we’ve added hundreds of licenses and its growing all the time.”

Raf highlights Tableau’s rich visual elements as a key selling point, allowing Polysphere to present findings and analytics in a way that blows both old and new customers away.

“Simply put, we cannot do what we do in Tableau anywhere else. It’s the whole package and it just works,” adds Raf. “It’s enabled us to create things that we weren’t able to create before from a content and concept point of view. The wow factor of our applications has doubled since we started using Tableau.”

Tableau has enabled us to create new products out of systems we already had but were unable to monetise.

Bringing new systems to production in half the time of competitors

Another major benefit of Tableau is that it’s enabled Polysphere to bring new systems and applications to production up to 50 percent faster than previously possible. Not only has this helped cut development costs, it’s provided Raf and his team with a significant competitive advantage in the market.

“When I’m pitching to customers, I’m competing against people that provide a quote for something that’ll take them six months,” says Raf. “Using Tableau, I can do the same thing in three.”

This provides a tangible cost saving, both for customers and Polysphere. However, as Raf points out, cost isn’t always the primary driving factor for many customers.

“When they have an urgent need to solve a problem and I tell them that I can solve it for them, or at least give them insight into it, in half the time of competitors, that’s what gets them really excited, not how much it’s going to cost,” says Raf.

“We recently deployed an executive level solution for one of our customers, using Tableau to combine multiple key data sets into a single set of dashboards,” continues Raf. “They had been trying and failing to do this themselves for over a year before approaching us. With Tableau, we were able to do it in two months.”

Tableau has also allowed Polysphere to leverage its existing systems in new ways, using analytics to extract more information for customers and open new revenue streams for the company.

“Due to the work we do, we’re sitting on gigabytes of data that in the past was only used for transactional purposes,” says Raf. “With Tableau we can unlock this gold mine of information to deliver analytical insights that can be used for management purposes as well. It’s enabled us to create new products out of systems we already had but were unable to monetise.”

When I’m pitching to customers, I’m competing against people that provide a quote for something that’ll take them six months. Using Tableau, I can do the same thing in three.

Ease of use eliminates the need for specialist developers

Tableau’s ease of use is another key benefit, meaning Polysphere doesn’t need to employ specialist developers solely to work on analytics and create data visualisations.

“With Tableau, I can use engineers and consultants to perform analytics, whereas traditionally I had to use developers that didn’t really understand the business he/she was developing for,” says Raf. “Now, my principal consultant, who is not a developer but a business person, can use Tableau to visualise what we are going to show customers, then she can go away and develop the application once everyone is happy.”

“This is key for us because it means no time is wasted explaining to a developer what they needs to do and how they needs to do it, while they don’t really understand the mining business,” continues Raf. “I can use mere mortals to do visual analytics, I don’t need specialists anymore.”

For Raf, Tableau adds a new layer to Polysphere’s overall offering that makes it the complete solution for customers.

“If you look at our website, our tagline is ‘sharpening your competitive edge’,” concludes Raf. “In a nutshell, Tableau has sharpened our own edge that little bit more.”

Simply put, we cannot do what we do in Tableau anywhere else. It’s the whole package and it just works.