Tableau: What do you mean by the “story”?
Marta: When I create my work in Tableau, I always think about the story. There has to be a beginning, it has to start somewhere. It has to evolve to more information, and then it has to end with the capability of drilling behind selected elements of the data.
Tableau: How do you use Tableau to present data as a story?
Marta: I use dashboards, because it gives me the ability to combine my work. My data is not at one place all the time. Sometimes I use different datasets. So, I'm able to use dashboards to show two different data elements at the same time, and it looks nicer to the end users and to my audience.
Tableau: Next to dashboards, what other Tableau features do you find helpful?
Marta: We use maps all the time, and I have been experimenting with those maps a lot through polygons and many different geographical areas. I really like mapping because it's not only showing us where it is geographically located, but we can drill into the street level. We can calculate distances. That's actually one of the biggest wins that we really like, because we can see the distances, and mapping and polygons. All of that is just bringing that much more information and visualization for us to work with.
Tableau: Can you describe the volume of data you work with?
Marta: When we started using Tableau, I was only connecting to text files in Excel. But as I moved forward with the implementation of Tableau and getting to know Tableau better, and the capabilities of Tableau, we also outgrew that, and those were not big enough files for us to store the data. So, right now we are connecting to Oracle and SQL Servers, and our data sizes run from few thousand records to as much as 20 million records. And that's just great because we have everything in one place, we don't have to restrain this to an area or a geographical area or just the particular analysis; we can look at the big picture.
Tableau: What about the speed to insight possible with Tableau vs. Excel?
Marta: One major thing is Excel will not be able to hold 20 million records. The second thing is the capabilities of different graphs. So, although we do have graphs and functions within Excel, it's much more of a manual process. In Tableau, graphs get prettier. And definitely it's just quicker to drag and drop versus making sure you select everything in Excel. So I look at Excel as more of a manual process, where in Tableau it's more automatic, faster, and efficient.
Tableau: Any final thoughts on using Tableau?
Marta: Data brings all the facts, and the facts within the data. And when you don't visualize them, when you don't show them in a correct way, you might be missing something that might play a big part in your organization. The power of Tableau visualization, the capability of Tableau visualization, and the power of data, if you combine that together, it can take any organization to the next level.
THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSMENT. Neither Allstate nor its subsidiaries endorse or recommend the use of Tableau Software products. While Allstate utilizes Tableau, you should review the product in detail to make sure it meets your needs prior to purchasing it. Further, Allstate is not providing any advice on the use or application of the product in conducting the demonstration. Data used to create this demonstration has been adjusted and does not include any proprietary Allstate information.