World Wide Technology measures dollar impact with Tableau

With 2013 reported revenues of more than $6 billion and operations on four continents, systems integration technology and service company World Wide Technologies (WWT) lives up to its name. WWT shares how it is using Tableau to deliver “a true dollar impact.”

Tableau: World Wide Technologies has implemented Tableau across the company—how were you able to get the company to embrace Tableau as it has?
Lance Leonard, Operations Manager, Professional Services: In the middle of 2012 we were delivering a financial presentation to our executives. And so our president, our CEO and CFO were all in the room with us. And we're talking finances, and we have four dashboards that we're walking through and telling the story.

And our president calls time out at about 15 minutes into the conversation and says, "Where is this data coming from, and what is the tool you're using," and we spent the rest of the time really talking about Tableau and what a difference it had made for us in Professional Services. And so right away we had that executive sponsorship.

Tableau: That’s great to hear! And have you gotten that same positive reaction from other parts of the company?
Lance: From the executives being our biggest fans, if you will, it was really easy to start that adoption process through the rest of the organization.

And so now the rest of the folks when they get in there and look at the dashboards, obviously they're intrigued by the visuals and they're intrigued by what we're seeing. And so then it becomes a question of how do I affect that data. And so it becomes a behavior change conversation as well, too, so that they know where the data is coming, most importantly they know that somebody is doing something with it.

Tableau: Can you give me an example of how you’re sharing data among your colleagues using Tableau?
Lance: One of the coolest things that I've seen is when the head of Professional Services actually stands in front of a green screen and does a video with Tableau in the background. So he's showing the dashboards for the whole organization and putting a video out for everybody to see.

The head of Professional Services at WWT features Tableau during a company presentation.

Tableau: Can you describe the impact of this change—not just understanding the data, but what sounds like a cultural shift in how people are relating to data?
Lance: Now we can step back and look at the big picture and provide insight into lessons learned on closed projects, find issues before they happen, and try to prevent losing money—putting a true dollar impact on the business has really been helpful.

Now we can step back and look at the big picture and provide insight into lessons learned on closed projects, find issues before they happen, and try to prevent losing money—putting a true dollar impact on the business.

Tableau: What’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen—in your opinion—about how you’re using Tableau at WWT?
Lance: From a business perspective absolutely we are looking at data differently, because where previously they are answering the questions we're telling them to ask. But with Tableau and the ability to blend all that disparate data together and more of a self-service BI approach that they can really answer their own questions.

It's turned into an education as well around what are our KPIs for our business, and what are the questions that our business really cares about so that we can enable them to make the decisions that they need to make.

That’s really the exciting piece for me, that we're making a difference in the organization and making an impact.

Tableau: That’s great! It sounds like you’re really able to use Tableau to help people understand what’s going on in your business.
Lance: The business users talk about our business in many ways, whether it's regionally focused or practice or technology focused. Having the ability to carve up that information in multiple ways and be able to tell that story of a project—from the time it was an opportunity in the sales department to the time we close it in Professional Services, with all the hardware and the future opportunities attached to that customer—all in one place. It really gets people excited about the information.

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