Georgiou Group increases flow of information, improves decision making

Georgiou Group set out to consolidate data systems to bring clarity across the business, ease reporting, and enable more informed and strategic decision making. As the company expanded and the number of business intelligence indexes increased, Georgiou Group sought a new solution to improve the flow of information and provide valuable insights for all employees. At first, Georgiou Group implemented Tableau in its HR department and was later adopted by the Business Development and Productivity teams. Soon the whole company started to experience greater transparency. This resulted in the company’s Advisory Board gaining new insights and correlations from the various business units, enabling the Board to make more accurate business decisions. The process is now more user friendly, efficient, and accurate because the company’s data is completely integrated and centralized. After choosing Tableau, Georgiou Group has enjoyed a number of benefits including:

  • Increased transparency for the HR Department across planning and staffing;
  • Improved cash flow management to invest in property development;
  • Reduced reporting time by 50% due to a centralized process and self-service Business Intelligence
  • Instilled a culture of faster and more informed data-driven decision making.

Increasing transparency into the business

Georgiou Group specializes in earthworks, roads and bridges, water infrastructure, precast, building construction and land development. The multi-award winning company manages between 30 - 40 different project sites across Australia at any one point in time and is growing at a steady rate. With the growth of the company came the increased need for decisions to be informed by accurate, easy-to-understand data. Due to the Company’s growth, more and more data requests started to flow in and before long, reporting processes became a bottleneck. The IT team was asked to complete an increasing number of ad hoc requests for various departments. This was very time consuming—and self-service was out of the question as only IT employees could use the SQL Server Reporting Services and PowerPivot data models. “Every time they wanted to add or remove a column, they were coming back to the IT team asking, ‘Can you please add column X, Y, Z?’,” said Sharjeel Siddiqui, Development Team Leader at Georgiou Group. “Previously Georgiou Group had a software-development lifecycle which required a series of developments, followed by user acceptance testing, then production, so it was taking a lot of time to modify the existing reports.”

We had IT team members working until late at night, comparing spreadsheets so they could deliver the data analysis that people from different departments were asking for. We wanted to achieve a situation where instead of employees coming to IT asking, ‘Can I have a bar chart or a line chart?’, they could do it themselves in five to 10 minutes.

Finally, Georgiou Group had issues connecting its previous analytics tool, Anterra, to many of the Company’s critical data sources such as Microsoft SQL and Google Analytics. For example, Georgiou Group uses a cloud-based HR System, SilkRoad HeartBeat. This system contains recruitment information, onboarding details, a talent management system, and an online learning portal. The HR team needed to analyze this data, but the system had no reporting capabilities. As a result, the IT team was required to develop these insights from scratch. As Sharjeel explains, “Georgiou Group had all this data but the reporting was primarily around finances and project costs, as opposed to the other lead indicators of profitability such as HR turnover, planning and safety. Basically, any other factor which could influence the success of the company wasn’t being looked at.” The Company’s time-consuming data processes could be a drain on the IT team as well. “We had IT team members working until late at night, comparing spreadsheets so they could deliver the data analysis people from different departments were asking for. We wanted to achieve a situation where instead of employees coming to IT asking, ‘Can I have a bar chart or a line chart?’, they could do it themselves in five to 10 minutes.” Leaders at Georgiou Group decided their first priority would be to develop a process for providing in-depth insight for the Advisory Board. As the board members had a range of experience of business intelligence, the data needed to be clear and the analytics solution easy to use. “We were asked to develop a dashboard that encompassed data from across the business. Transparency and the ability to see data clearly and accurately was essential. The dashboard had to offer a single reference point for the all information. We were looking for a quick and easy snapshot of the company.” Other teams within the business were also beginning to identify a need for data analytics with responsibility falling to the IT team. Georgiou Group’s leadership team visualizes data from Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Company’s property development arm was tasked with responsibility for on-time delivery and cash flow of all property projects. With this in mind, access to up-to-date, accurate data analysis was paramount to ensure clients are kept informed of the status of their property projects, while maintaining cash flow throughout the business.

Integrating Tableau for efficiency and transparency

The Georgiou Group team came across Tableau a few years ago during a Gartner conference. At the time, Georgiou Group had been using Excel reports which were sufficient for the Company’s needs. Fast-forward a couple of years and this was no longer the case. The team organized demos of two data analysis solutions: Tableau and QlikView. After a two-week ‘bake-off,’ Georgiou Group chose Tableau. Within days, one general manager had asked for more licenses so he could give his construction managers increased access. When Tableau was first introduced to the business, the IT team began to create a centralized location for data storage that allowed the various internal departments to directly connect to their individual data sources. The next step was to implement a quick process all employees could follow, no matter their level of IT expertise. Each department can use Tableau to turn their data into interactive visualizations. When the data is in this format, it is easier to share with other departments and the Advisory Board which ultimately leads to quicker, more informed business decision making.

Simplifying decision making

During Tableau’s implementation stages at Georgiou Group, it was evident no one had realized how vital the software would become in shaping business practice and decision making in the future. Georgiou Group Chief Financial Officer Errol Keyt said, “Since the implementation of Tableau almost two years ago, our business has enjoyed significant benefits. We now have access to a wide range of data from different internal departments that can be analyzed by the teams. This has driven substantial process efficiencies across the workplace. Furthermore, our decision making is now quicker and better informed by accurate, easy to understand data which has allowed the business to grow and develop further than anticipated.” Not only has Tableau improved business decision making, but the company has noticed a shift in workplace attitudes in regards to data analytics. Sharjeel notes that leaders have seen a “business-wide shift in work flow and data management that has boosted office morale and encouraged a better work/life balance. People can develop their own reports quickly and easily, so they’re not relying on others to spend many hours pulling and cutting the numbers to make charts and graphs.” The introduction of Tableau has streamlined the regular board meetings enabling board members to make real-time decisions as they have all the data at their fingertips. Errol remembers, “Before Tableau, corporate information would be siloed throughout the board report, so board members would need to flick to page 45 for financial results, then back to page 10 for safety results, then onto page 20 for something else. Now the process is so much more user friendly, efficient and accurate with a one-page summary at the front of the pack.”

Before Tableau, corporate information would be siloed throughout the board report, so board members would need to flick to page 45 for financial results...Now the process is so much more user friendly, efficient, and accurate with a one-page summary at the front of the pack.

With a one-page summary, the Board is encouraged to ask more direct questions and is less confused by disparate data across the board pack. Board members and project managers can ask informed questions they may otherwise not have thought to ask. In the same way, Tableau provides transparency across the business—revealing aspects of the company that are doing well and areas that they need to focus on and monitor. The data also offers a means to draw conclusions and see correlations with trends and results. Different departments report to the Board on Georgiou Group’s internal safety metrics. If results are not as good as previous years, Tableau can deliver valuable insights and correlations between changes in HR turnover or unusual financial results. Sharjeel Siddiqui said, “It’s an art versus science battle. Accountants can work with a 20-row table with five different columns, but how does everyone across the company utilize those insights and effectively process the information? By using Tableau, the art versus science debate can find a middle ground. The software collates the data to identify correlations, and then projects it into an easy-to-understand visual representation.”

Other benefits relate to individual teams within the business. HR has a centralized dashboard from which they can create their own visualizations. For example, it’s now straight forward to identify the risks that could arise if there are multiple people from one project away at the same time. The HR team has visibility across various projects, broken down by job role, which allows for detailed planning in such scenarios. The HR team has also developed bespoke courses for project managers that are run through Georgiou’s online learning module. This is helping Georgiou Group’s project managers garner skills in new areas such as financial management, leadership, cost control, and commercial. The HR team is able to plug the attendance data from these courses into Tableau to help determine which project managers still need to attend and which courses are most suitable for each individual. The Leadership Team also has centralized dashboards to manage property development project timelines and related cash flow. This means the team is now aware at all times of the status of each development project, so if there are delays or concerns, Georgiou Group’s employees are always informed.