Polkomtel, Polish mobile communications company, speeds insight by 10x

Polkomtel is one of the largest mobile communications operators in Poland, operating under brands such as Plus, Plus na Kartę, Mixplus, and Plus Internet.

Before Tableau, Polkomtel dealt with static reports, with teams relying on spreadsheets or disparate systems for their data analysis needs. By the time that reports reached the hands of decision-makers, they were outdated.

When Business Intelligence Partner Grzegorz Szalachwij and the BI selection committee at Polkomtel were evaluating a new tool to solve this problem, they chose Tableau for its intuitive platform and the ability to drill down into data on the fly.

Today, Polkomtel has approximately 300 Tableau users, including analysts, business users, and employees “in every corner of the company.” For example, financial analysts use Tableau by integrating with the SAP HANA platform. Teams at Polkomtel also analyze data processed on a Hadoop platform, along with Tableau Data Extracts that are used for speedy data discovery. Tableau is most present in meetings with directors to monitor sales and marketing performance. Instead of days or weeks, Szalachwij says that insights are ready ten times more quickly than before they had Tableau.

Tableau: Tell us about Polkomtel.
Grzegorz Szalachwij, Business Intelligence Partner: Polkomtel is one of the largest mobile communications operators in Poland marketing its services under brands: Plus, Plus na Kartę, Mixplus, Plus Internet and offers combined services with media brands like Cyfrowy Polsat and Ipla as the member of Cyfrowy Polsat Group. Polkomtel's offering is continuously being extended into electricity services, financial services (Plus Bank), and VAS services. We pioneered innovative mobile technology services in the Polish market, including being the first company to offer UMTS and LTE service.

Tableau: What was life like before Tableau?
Grzegorz: Our reporting was static. Marketing, sales, customer service, and other teams all relied on spreadsheets or on classic reporting suites for their reporting. The problem was that it was very labor-intensive to integrate the data, investigate it, develop the reports, and finally be able to explain reporting numbers in detail. And of course, all these task took time, so by the time the data was in the hands of the decision-makers, it was often outdated.

Tableau: So what did you do?
Grzegorz: I was on the BI selection committee that was thinking of introducing new tool to answer these problems. We really liked the intuitive nature of the Tableau platform; the ability to drill down in near real-time to the data, and of course the visual presentations. However, we realized that the best way to get to know Tableau wasn’t through some laboratory exercise, but by deploying it into the heart of the company and giving the tool to the hands of analytics users. And so we did.

Tableau: Who uses Tableau in Polkomtel?
Grzegorz: Right now we have approximately 300 users, comprising data analysts and business end users, across almost every corner of the company: Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, Networks and more. The original use case was to deepen our insight into sales and marketing performance and it’s still used a lot there. Over time though, the use of Tableau has spread to other lines of business, primarily because it’s so easy to use and so popular with the users.

If you walk through the company now, you’ll see Tableau on PCs, supporting management reporting, geomarketing, data mining analysis, and financial analysis. The last one is made possible by the integration with the SAP HANA platform. Tableau also analyses the data processed on the Hadoop platform. We also use Tableau Data Extracts to take a snapshot of the data for even faster data analytics and data discovery.

Tableau: Tell us more about some of the use cases.

Insights can be ready in real-time compared to postponing answers for next days or weeks. So I can say we are ready with our insights at least 10 times more quickly during meetings now that we have Tableau.

Grzegorz: Tableau is probably most visible during the regular director-level meetings, which monitor and report on retail sales and marketing performance, demand for data services and other metrics. Insights can be ready in real-time compared to postponing answers for next days or weeks. So I can say we are ready with our insights at least 10 times more quickly during these meetings now we have Tableau. Executives can even ask questions ‘on the fly’ and receive immediate answers during the meeting itself. The time to insight has dropped dramatically, on almost all our reporting—from sales forecasts right down to granular call detail reports.

For example, if a director asks, ‘How is our Plus prepaid discount campaign currently performing in the Warsaw region, versus in Krakow?’ it only takes a few seconds to explore the results of the promotion, and drill down into the demographics of the audience, their geography, and existing relationship with Plus.

Beyond this use case, you’ll see Tableau being used in classic analytical processes through to advanced predictive analytics in fraud detection, call center KPI reports and many other situations.

Tableau: You’re saying you can now get to answers 10 times more quickly than you could before. What does that mean to Polkomtel?
Grzegorz: It means business agility. It means increased competitiveness. And it means business growth. We can now respond far more quickly to sales, marketing, and other opportunities. That business opportunity might be hidden somewhere in our data, but Tableau exposes it immediately.

Tableau: What do the users say about Tableau?
Grzegorz: Tableau is a complete analytical tool. It’s simple to use, intuitive, and the visualizations impress everyone who sees them. From a single app, we can visualize our retail data, geo-location data, and so much more. And of course, we are able to connect with multiple different and complex environments to get these answers, including Teradata, MS SQL Server, SAP HANA, Hadoop, and SAS.

Tableau: What role has AstraFox played in your success?
Grzegorz: It was AstraFox that delivered this Tableau solution at Polkomtel. Our expectations were high when we involved them on our Tableau deployment. We weren’t disappointed.

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