Brazilian airline, Azul Linhas Aéreas creates a culture of data

Azul Linhas Aéreas’ goal is to stimulate air traffic and boost the Brazilian economy by an equation that is simple to understand but hard to copy: offering low prices and quality service.

The quality of its services has already been attested by numerous awards, national and international. In 2015, the company was elected "Best low-cost airline in South America" for the fifth consecutive time by Skytrax World Airline Awards. In the same year, Azul was also the most punctual low-cost airline in the world according to OAG.

Initially, Azul started with seven Tableau Desktop licenses in the Fuel Efficiency department. Today, the company uses Tableau to analyze over 200 million records from their SQL Server database. Four departments use Tableau, with plans to expand access across all pilots along with other company areas. For governance, administrators use Active Directory so the data stays secure. Daniel Galizi, Data Analytics, BI and DW, concludes, “Tableau enables us to decide, assemble and put everything into production very quickly.”

Tableau: What encouraged Azul to try Tableau?
Daniel Galizi, Data Analyst and Fuel Efficiency Coordinator: This is how our story with Tableau began. We needed something fast which yielded immediate results. It was then that Tableau came to our help with its agility, immediate results, and usability.

Tableau: What is the size of the data you work with today?
Daniel: We started with Tableau from scratch, with Desktop licenses, a desktop computer, and Excel. Then we moved to SQL Server.

This was very good because we had the time to identify our needs, understand them, scale them, and most importantly, create a culture of data in our department. And that was very important. Today, we work with around 200 million records and use SQL Server at the data center. But I always say that it is possible to start from scratch with almost no investment.

Tableau: How did you begin to implement Tableau?
Daniel: In the beginning, we were using Tableau because of our partner. From then on, we started using the tool to work on our own analyses. We had only three people in the team and I was responsible for the data and the visual parts of Tableau. Then, other related areas of our company began to see what we were doing and grew interested, so we expanded Tableau gradually to these other areas.

Tableau: Approximately, how many departments are using Tableau today?
Daniel: Today, Tableau is used by four departments: our executives, of course; maintenance, operational control and the board of pilots. But we have plans to expand its use to other areas, and make it available for all flight crew members in the company.

Tableau enables us to decide, assemble and put everything into production very quickly. And this is important because, in aviation, things change all the time. With Tableau, we track these changes, being on top of everything.

Tableau: Can you tell us a little about the impact of Tableau at your company?
Daniel: Before Tableau, our meetings were very sluggish. We ended up arguing over how to do things rather than what to actually do. And most of the time, the meeting would end without any results. The acceleration that Tableau brought to this process was immediate.

Today, now that we have already created a culture with Tableau, we enter a meeting and everything is very dynamic, very interactive. We have already been able to change a filter, add a new variable, and in most cases, we leave the meeting with the results we need within minutes.

The time saved is impressive, both in the visuals and data parts. Normally, when we prepare a database, we work a little bit on Tableau to be able to see the data in a different way, to view them and build basic statistics. Then we set out to solve the issue.

Tableau: How has Tableau impacted your day to day work?
Daniel: Tableau enables us to decide, assemble, and put into production everything very quickly. And this is important, because in aviation things change all the time. With Tableau, we track these changes, being on top of everything.

Tableau: And if you didn’t have Tableau, what would happen?
Daniel: We would continue working, of course, but I would say that it would happen in a less productive way. We would be working with our spreadsheets, with very limited charts, without any interaction, and without the differential offered by Tableau.

Tableau: What would you say to someone who is considering using Tableau?
Daniel: Just get started, that is the secret. Once you begin, you will feel the power you have in your hands, and you will have the freedom to make lots of mistakes too, and fixes and adjustments as well. Tableau is very easy to use, and the learning curve is also very good.

Tableau: What are Azul’s future plans for Tableau?
Daniel: We plan to expand Tableau to the crew so that they have access to all the charts. We're talking about 1,000 people initially. Other plans include extending the functionality through APIs and mobile devices (iPads, iPhones), especially for executives to attend meetings remotely.

Tableau: How has Tableau Server helped you govern your data?
Daniel: Our experience with Tableau Server started very well. Being able to publish the data sources for the departments makes things much easier. With the expertise we already have, we moved from consumers to data providers. In addition, the possibility to create specific sites for certain areas, with easy management, allows us to have control over the features and the users in a very simple way – and everything is integrated with Active Directory, which is critical for us. It is even a matter of security for the company.

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