John Hogan, Founder and Chief Data Scientist at the Dublin-based start-up, Real World Retail, explains how he uses Tableau to quickly analyze large amounts of data in order to support faster, more accurate decision-making. To hear a real-life story about how Real World Retail is helping Irish retailer Pamela Scott improve merchandising decisions, watch John's second video.
Tableau: How are visual analytics particularly useful in the retail industry?
John Hogan, Founder and Chief Data Scientist: Retailers are very busy people. And so they need to know the answers pretty much straight away. And basically, the easiest way to do that—or the most effective way to do that—is by doing visuals first on Tableau.
They can get a picture what's happening in about ten seconds; they can read the visual. And then from that, basically, they can get actions out of there that gives them the extra piece of information to make the decisions they need to make.
Tableau: How is your company using Tableau?
John: At Real World Retail, we have a decision support system built on Tableau. So we've designed a whole system based around how retailers make decisions. So when they have a decision to make, like for presenting them with a visual that's condensing a huge amount of information. And then, basically, from that visual they can see what's happening now. And then we give them a series of actions which is basically shows them just enough information to eliminate a weakness or to maximize an opportunity.
Tableau: What sort of data are you looking at?
John: Mostly we're looking at point-of-sale data. So we have, like, a large amount of data at our fingertips. And so we've got plenty of data to, like, discover and to visualize. And, like, One of the key things Tableau does is, like, it converts huge amounts of data into very simple visualizations and insights.
You can start with what you think like you might see, and then basically when you do your data discovery, invariably, you'll find something else is going on. And so you get to see what is happening in the retailer's business like very easily in a way that wasn't like apparent before.
Tableau: What has the impact been?
John: What we find is a whole new world has opened up in terms of data discovery. And retailers that are using the old methods of fixed reports, basically, are poorly-armed with information compared to when we look at our customers now.
They know everything about everything and they've got thinking time because they can consume their visuals in a fraction of the time... that basically another retailer is looking at reports.