OVH overhauls data management and creates single source of truth with Tableau


Connected all data sources for first time
Replaced 100+ reports with a set of dashboards
Over 200 users, spanning 20+ internal groups

Founded in 1999, OVH is a global hyper-scale cloud provider, with 27 datacenters on 4 continents—all connected via its own 13 Tbps dark fiber network. It provides its 1.3 million worldwide customers with simple yet powerful products and services revolving around three key areas: Web (Domains, Web Hosting, Exchange), Dedicated (Servers) and Cloud (Public and Private Cloud, VDI, VPS). OVH began using Tableau in 2015 to centralize its data management, streamline reporting and create a single source of truth across the whole business. There are now over 200 regular Tableau users within the company—a number growing all the time—spanning 20+ different internal groups, with the CEO himself overseeing the ongoing rollout to the wider business.

The main benefit of Tableau is its flexibility—the capability at any given moment to adapt to an activity, a need, specific tracking, a customer path, or a product that's just been launched.

Centralizing data management, creating a single source of truth

For a business like OVH, effective data management and analysis is fundamental to ongoing success.

“Data is at the heart of our work,” explains Morade El Fahsi, Data Science Team Lead at OVH. “We are constantly analyzing different types of data to try and predict, anticipate, and determine business strategy for the short, medium, and long term.”

Prior to the introduction of Tableau in 2015, the company relied on homemade, open source tools to manage data. However, not only were these tools time consuming to use, they were not companywide. This created a fractured data environment, meaning different parts of the business were often working off different sets of information, causing internal issues.

A better solution was needed and OVH’s IT team quickly identified Tableau for its ease of use, direct integration with data sources and powerful visual analysis capabilities.

“The main benefit of Tableau is its flexibility, the capability at any given moment to adapt to an activity, a need, specific tracking, a customer path, or a product that's just been launched,” says Morade. “In just a few minutes you can quickly set up a new dashboard and start sharing insights with whoever you like.”

Tableau also connects all OVH’s data sources in one central location, creating a single source of truth for everyone in the business and ensuring data consistency throughout.

“First you gather data, process it, and ensure its integrity, then you make it immediately accessible to all employees in Tableau,” says Morade. “This eliminates the risk of data silos forming and means everyone is working off the same information.”

Being able to create something that is visually appealing in just a few short clicks means that employees can focus on data analysis itself, rather than the arduous recovery and assembly aspect that was so prevalent before.

Over 200 regular Tableau users, resulting in significant productivity gains

Tableau’s popularity has quickly spread throughout the business. There are now over 200 regular users, spanning 20+ groups across the finance, IT, sales, marketing and service teams, with more requests coming in all the time. Morade attributes much of this to Tableau’s intuitive and visual nature, making it so easy to use.

“Being able to create something that is visually appealing in just a few short clicks means that employees can focus on data analysis itself, rather than the arduous recovery and assembly aspect that was so prevalent before,” says Morade.

To help get new users up to speed quickly, Tableau ‘super users’ have been embedded in each of the departments, where they can give hands on training and help answer questions, without everything being routed back to the IT team.

“Managing people is a key part of the process,” says Morade. “When new arrivals come in, we explain how Tableau works, what the rules are, what the norms are. Very quickly they are able to self-serve their own data needs, which greatly improves business productivity.”

OVH’s CEO has been so impressed by the productivity gains since the introduction of Tableau, he is now personally overseeing the rollout to the rest of the business and wider stakeholders.

“We have already started to introduce Tableau to our supply chain and once that is complete, HR will be next,” says Morade. “We can see a real gain in productivity, but there's standardization of information too. Tableau guarantees we have the right data in the hands of the right people, at all times.”

Automated reporting saves time and improves insight

In addition to data management and analysis, Tableau has also had a major impact on the internal reporting process within OVH.

“Before Tableau, reporting was an increasingly time consuming activity, with hundreds of spreadsheet and PowerPoint-based reports requiring manual updating every day, week or month,” says Morade. “Not only was this taking up a significant amount of the IT team’s time, but the reports themselves were quickly out of date and hard to read, making them difficult to gain actionable insights from.”

Now, over 100 of these reports have each been replaced by a single interactive Tableau dashboard that can be easily customized to the requirements of the reader. Furthermore, the reports are fully automated, meaning the time spent on them by the IT team has been significantly reduced, freeing them up to work on more important projects.

“Rather than having to wade through dozens of pages of data for the insights they need, teams can now quickly manipulate the data however they require in Tableau and display it in visualizations that are easy to read and digest,” says Morade. “The Tableau data is also ‘live’, meaning that any small changes made on the back end are available to everyone immediately, maintaining that all-important single source of truth.”

“Tableau has quickly become an integral part of the data management and analytics process at OVH,” concludes Morade. “Over the coming months, we plan to make every user and department even more autonomous, going deeper with their data and capable of self-serving even the most complex analytical needs.”

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