Comair Limited is a leading South African aviation company that operates up to 130 flights per day both domestically within South Africa and regionally around Africa, as a British Airways franchisee and under its own kulula.com brand. Founded in 1946, the company is based at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, and has focus cities at Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport. Comair uses Tableau to connect hundreds of data sources around the company, improving business intelligence and enabling more informed decision making. Since its implementation, use of data within the company has significantly increased and a transparent self-service culture has emerged, saving time and improving productivity at every level.
One of Tableau’s biggest strengths is its ease of use, which means with just a small amount of training, anyone can start to uncover genuine insights by themselves.
We were quickly able to provide exactly the kind of insights in Tableau that could make an immediate impact on operational performance.
Not only has Tableau improved productivity across the company, it has enabled the BI team to focus much more on strategic business analytics projects that can have a real impact on the future success of the company.
Better data management encourages employee self-service
The final area the BI team wanted to address was the ability of Comair’s employees to self-serve their own data needs, rather than relying solely on analysis provided by the BI team.
“Once we had addressed fundamental organizational data issues, teaching everyone how to make the most of our new analytics capabilities was a logical next step,” says Liezl. “One of Tableau’s biggest strengths is its ease of use, which means with just a small amount of training, anyone can start to uncover genuine insights by themselves.”
A key component of the drive towards self-service was the establishment of Comair’s Data Stewards Programme. This involved the appointment of nine data stewards to reside within the wider business and assist with analytics requirements, as well as promote self-service amongst employees.
“Initially, senior leadership wanted all data stewards to reside within the IT team but we fought hard to ensure they were out in the wider business, so they could start building a community of analysts from within.”
Liezl goes on to emphasize the importance of using relatable content when seeking the CEO support needed to get new BI programmes up and running.
“Without CEO buy-in, driving a BI programme is close to impossible,” says Liezl. “Therefore, when looking for support, we showed him Tableau dashboards that contained our own company data because we knew that would mean something and improve the chances of buy-in significantly. We are also very lucky that our CEO has a keen interest in data.”
Once the data stewards had been identified, training was conducted and standards manuals and Tableau templates were developed to promote consistency. In combination with this, Liezl and her team launched Comair Analytics, providing employees with open access to controlled data sets within Tableau.
With the data stewards acting as community champions and employees able to go into Tableau and experience it for themselves, a culture of self-service has quickly begun to emerge across the workforce.
“Once people started to see how easy Tableau was to use and how it could make their day-to-day tasks much easier, uptake really took off,” says Liezl. “Not only has this improved productivity across the company, it has enabled the BI team to focus much more on strategic business analytics projects that can have a real impact on the future success of the company.”