Sommer: I think it just helps us to make much quicker and much better decisions with the data we already have available and thereby to lay the foundations for our business differently, simply because we can analyse or view things which we wouldn't have known about without Tableau.
I'd say that you can go to completely new levels of questions and answers incredibly quickly, where sometimes you didn't even think to ask questions like that before because you didn't know there was an answer to them.
Tableau: Can you describe what it’s like to use Tableau?
Sommer: I'd say first of all that I find it incredibly fun working with Tableau. I think if we asked my wife she'd say that since I've had Tableau I definitely spend too much time at the computer. Not because I have to and not because I wouldn't be quick enough with Tableau, but because it's just so much fun and I don't want to stop.
Tableau: How did you end up choosing Tableau?
Sommer: Well, since 2011 we've been evaluating various BI solutions, always with a view to implementing quick and cost-effective solutions with small and medium-sized companies.
The reason we've just kept looking until now—and only started using Tableau in March—is that we didn't discover Tableau sooner.
With the other solutions we evaluated, we came across implementation processes which were simply far too long. I mean, we did find licensing models which would definitely have been suitable for the model we have in mind, but it was just incredibly labour-intensive to process any solutions using them.
And with Tableau we had exactly the opposite experience— that we were able to produce very good results within a very short space of time. And that tipped the balance in favour of Tableau.
Tableau: What kind of data do you work with?
Sommer: Well, the data we work with is mainly SQL Server data, mainly Microsoft, Oracle. High Space plays a minor role - and apart from that we sometimes also get something via a Flat File, but those tend to be the exceptions.
The data volumes are very varied, so from 100 customer data records to thousands or even millions of transaction data records, depending on what's being assessed. So for things like analyses on resubmissions from vendors to customers and things like that I obviously have to scan entire appointment calendars, and then I inevitably end up with large quantities of data, whereas when I have clients who only have a limited customer base themselves and I want to analyse something purely at client level, then I have a very limited amount of data.
Tableau: And what was your job like before Tableau?
Sommer: Previously, with our individual solution, we took a completely different approach which focused on collecting all the data initially, which meant we had very long start times, but we also had very quick response times while we were working with the solution.
With the disadvantage that the data wasn't updated in real time. Instead I always had to make sure I refreshed it, and again that took a long time, because everything was buffered.
Now with Tableau these waiting times are much shorter, because only the data I want to display at that moment is read. And I have the enormous advantage of always
being able to work with live data and not having to constantly refresh the view.
Tableau: How would you describe Tableau as a partner?
Sommer: About the Tableau company, first of all I'd say that I get the feeling it's a very open-minded business and you can make contacts incredibly quickly and also, through those contacts, you can get the information you need.