Charles Schwab equips more than 16,000+ employees with Tableau to advance data-driven culture


Aligned nationwide retail branches based on customer insights
Tracked customer satisfaction for new products and services
Workforce of 16,000+ empowered by enterprise BI platform

The Charles Schwab Corporation is one of the largest publicly-traded financial services firms based on client assets. At Schwab, data is fundamental to enhancing the customer experience, driving operational leverage, and reducing risk.

At the beginning of 2016, Charles Schwab had over 6,000 people using Tableau and was quickly reaching capacity in its Tableau environment. With increasing demand for Tableau licenses across the enterprise, Schwab expanded Tableau to 12,000 employees within 18 months, and now has 16,000 users—all managed by Schwab's IT Center of Excellence. Today, “about half of the company uses Tableau on a daily basis,” shared Gessica.

Several departments are already seeing a return on investment. In Schwab's retail branches, branch managers use Tableau to monitor client activity and identify outreach opportunities, resulting in an improved client experience. Schwab creates dedicated dashboards for new initiatives ranging from their robo-advice service to enhanced digital messaging. With increasing transparency from the Center of Excellence and support from an active internal user group, Tableau usage and demand continues to grow.

With Tableau, we can align all of our reporting and tie back a branch's contribution to the overall company results, which helps us better understand the impact that they're having.

Enterprise BI platform adopted by 16,000+ employees

Charles Schwab's Center of Excellence (COE) handles governance and performance for approximately 16,000 Tableau users across the company. The team is dedicated to setting up secure data sources for employees to access—including Teradata, MySQL, Oracle, Splunk, Hadoop, and Excel spreadsheets—so that departments can analyze their own data.

In early 2016, Schwab experienced a growing demand for Tableau. At the time, the Center of Excellence didn't have the capacity or the resources in place to handle the surge in data and interest. Employees could wait up to three months to receive a Tableau license.

Instead of using legacy BI tools, more employees started accessing data through Tableau. Interest grew organically as more people wanted to create their own dashboards and share information. As a result, Schwab was nearing capacity in its Tableau platform environment.

When Gessica Briggs-Sullivan came on board as Charles Schwab's Tableau administrator, she transformed the COE's model to be more transparent, offering Tableau licenses to all departments that wanted to see and understand their data. Under this model, Schwab quickly went from 6,000 Tableau users to 12,000+ within 18 months.

"We changed our course with our increase to 16,000 Tableau users along with a new leadership direction that was heading towards self-service analytics." shared Gessica. "We wanted to change into a more supportive and nurturing environment and the users came with us in this journey."

"The exponential growth in Tableau adoption required us to rethink our capacity planning and support model. We developed an approach that supports both the experienced analysts as well as novice business users, advancing our data-driven culture," shared Andrew Salesky, Global Data Officer.

The exponential growth in Tableau adoption required us to rethink our capacity planning and support model. We developed an approach that supports both the experienced analysts as well as novice business users, advancing our data-driven culture.

With this access to visual analytics, Schwab has seen an increase in collaboration and openness. The COE even created a series of dashboards for people to track data about their dashboards, including load times, extract failures, and usage metrics. If an employee witnesses low adoption on one of their dashboards, he or she can consult with the intended audience to ensure that it is still meeting their needs. "I want to enable users to get this information for their own business needs," shared Gessica. "So we've made efforts to provide this data to dashboard owners."

To further increase adoption, the team instituted an internal user group, built within a company SharePoint portal. Around 130 employees log into the monthly meetings. Topics range from Tableau tips and dashboard showcases to overviews of Schwab processes. The portal also serves as a community forum where people can ask questions, offer advice, and view recordings of past user groups.

"Users want to see each other succeed," said Gessica. "On the community page, people will ask Tableau questions, and you'll immediately see one of the other more experienced users answering."

We increased to 12,000 Tableau users along with a new leadership direction that was heading towards self-service analytics.

140 branch managers and 1200 financial consultants track performance, customize client offerings

Previously, branch management had fragmented reporting across various business intelligence platforms, leading to inefficiencies in accessing the data. Today with Tableau, branch leadership gain visibility into the whole network to understand regional and branch-level performance metrics and identify areas of opportunity.

"With Tableau, we can align all of our reporting and tie back a branch's contribution to the overall company results, which helps us better understand the impact that they're having," shared Jackie Chin, Vice President of Retail Analytics.

Branch managers for Schwab's nationwide branch network track progress against key performance indicators like net new assets, advised solutions offerings, transfer of assets, along with net promoter (customer experience) scores with Tableau. Armed with data, managers can coach employees in opportunities for improvement.

"This reporting is changing how they manage their branches," said Jackie. "Branch Managers now have the visibility to really build strategic plans and provide enhanced coaching to help the financial consultants, and ultimately help our clients."

This reporting is changing how they manage their branches. Branch Managers now have the visibility to really build strategic plans and provide enhanced coaching to help the financial consultants, and ultimately help our clients.

Within each branch, financial consultants have visibility into flows out to Schwab competitors. The branch can leverage this reporting to identify trends within specific contra-firms, which informs outreach or targeted marketing initiatives. Conversely, the branch can identify clients that bring assets over from a competitor who may have a change in investment needs.

Digging deeper into the data, leadership can track advised solutions by region and demographics to ensure product awareness. And if a region's performance is above or below average, they can click in and see what branch is driving that region's performance. Similarly, they could dig in to identify the select clients that are contributing to that performance.

Schwab recently rolled out Tableau to 1,200 financial consultants across the United States. This allows the consultants to click through and identify households that would benefit from solutions to improve their overall financial wellbeing—ultimately driving a better, more customized client experience.

"It's an opportunity for the branches to better engage with clients and have more impactful discussions based on their needs, which may include investing new money or getting a financial plan," explained Jackie. "With Tableau, we can identify these clients, reach out to these clients, and provide the help and guidance they need to meet their financial goals"

Leadership tracks customer satisfaction, consolidating data from the warehouse

Schwab's Analytics and Business Insight (ABI) group is the central hub for reporting, supported by more than 100 analysts.

The ABI group is tasked with creating automated dashboards for senior leadership and client-facing teams, sourcing data from Schwab's data warehouse. With over 150 terabytes of data in the warehouse, ABI uses Tableau to analyze key performance indicators around investments, new products, and business initiatives.

As Schwab launches new products, leadership needed a comprehensive way to monitor business impact across the company. To respond to this need, the ABI group created a managed and automated investing dashboard as an overview for Schwab's top company metrics, including net new accounts along with weekly asset flows and revenue numbers. Without Tableau, this would be a series of massive spreadsheets, which would hinder leadership's ability to make fast, data-driven decisions around business indicators.

Without Tableau, we would be stuck analyzing enormous amounts of data in spreadsheets. Instead, we create dashboards that provide clear actionable insights, and that drive the business forward.

When Schwab launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios (SIP) in March 2015—a low-cost automated investment option—the ABI group built a Tableau dashboard to track customer adoption and satisfaction of the product. The dashboard showed this analysis by demographic and customer behaviors, allowing leadership to determine reasons behind customer actions and influence a better customer experience. This dashboard served as a baseline to analyze new products in the future.

Similarly, when Schwab started offering a paperless option to customers, the ABI group built a dashboard to analyze the impact on business costs. With this dashboard, leadership can track paperless adoption by product, both on the banking and brokerage sides of the business, along with dollars saved. This helps leadership determine how customers receive these new initiatives to inform future decisions.

"Without Tableau, we would be stuck analyzing enormous amounts of data in spreadsheets," said Donald Lay, Senior Business Intelligence Manager. "Instead, we create dashboards that provide clear actionable insights, and that drive the business forward."

Read more about Charles Schwab's story on InformationWeek.

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