Tableau: What lead you to begin using Tableau?
Thomas Mentler, CFO: We’re very satisfied with our current IT solutions, ERP systems, accounting software, and so on. But what we were missing was one tool would allow us to run analyses of all the data.
We needed an analysis tool—we’ve now found Tableau for this task. Immediately after I saw it, I ordered the first license and it was clear that we were going to stick with Tableau for data analysis.
Tableau: What do you like best about using Tableau?
It's remarkable that it can handle such complex data structures so intuitively and flexibly. Every time I use it I get excited by it again.
Thomas: It's remarkable that it can handle such complex data structures so intuitively and flexibly. Every time I use it I get excited by it again. You don’t need to think so much about what sort of analysis you’re creating, because it’s just so flexible.
For me it’s less a reporting tool that I use to provide finished results in one form or another, it's more a thinking aid—the program thinks along with the user. In discussions, you can take ideas that previously you could only come up with based on vague ideas or gut feelings, and implement them with the support of IT systems and on the basis of correct data.
Tableau: How does your team use Tableau on a day-to-day basis?
Thomas: In addition to a lot of so-called “small” analyses when you can simply use it instead of Excel, a large area of application for us is the complete cost accounting calculations, which we export from the ERP systems into Tableau. We have them in detail in the ERP system and we present this overall view of all order types, product groups, regions etc. in Tableau.
Tableau: How has Tableau impacted your company as a whole?
Thomas: It’s nice to have data—but if you can’t generate it meaningfully and, hopefully, draw the right conclusions from it, you don’t benefit much. Tableau is a significant factor in our ability to remain relevant and productive in the future.
Tableau: Did you consider other business intelligence solutions?
Thomas: I looked at many, many programs and we often thought about going for a competitor's product. But we could never bring ourselves to do it because it was never a 360-degree solution for us.
Then we downloaded the trial version and in just a few hours we received the first analyses—analyses that previously we would either have not created at all or only created with considerable effort.
Tableau: Is there anything else you could share about your experience with Tableau?
Thomas: As I said, it’s remarkable how flexibly you can handle large quantities of data. You just enjoy working with your data and you’re always trying to find new information in the data pool.
Of course, it’s important and necessary at work, but you find yourself enjoying tinkering with it in your free time, to discover the limits of the tool's possibilities.