Rosetta Stone improves data fluency with Tableau & InterWorks

Rosetta Stone provides cutting-edge interactive technology that is changing the way the world learns. It’s collecting data at a rate of hundreds of millions of transactions each day. The company deployed Tableau—with help from InterWorks—to address its two-week queue of large data and ad-hoc analytics requests. Today, those requests are turned around in just a day. It’s also expanding its user base, with about 70% of the financial team using Tableau along with customer outreach operations and other departments throughout the organization.

Tableau: Can you tell us a little bit about what Rosetta Stone wanted to do with its data?
Joseph Bertram, Senior Business Intelligence Architect: We're trying to reinvent ourselves. Rosetta Stone—at the corporate level—is very data-driven.

We're really trying to be much more of an online presence and app presence. We want to do it as intelligently as we possibly can, and that's where all the data comes in handy. From the lowest-level analyst to the highest-level executives, we're trying to make all of our decisions from good data and good analytics.

Tableau: How many people are looking at data visualizations published to your Tableau Server?
Joseph: We have close to 400 Tableau Server users who are consumers—they're not report developers, but they are data consumers.

They will come and use the pre-prepared workbooks that we've done with InterWorks to kind of get them part of the way. And we're actually getting some of them who are kind of ‘power users’ where they'll take an existing workbook and they'll edit it on the Web browser. They'll slice it and dice it a little bit differently and pivot it a little bit differently to create their own visualizations.

Tableau: You mentioned InterWorks, one of our partners. What was the benefit of bringing them in to deliver training?
Joseph: At Rosetta Stone, we're all about teaching our customers how to speak a new language, but InterWorks really helped us learn how to speak our own data to each other and to analyze it and dig into it and understand it and use it to make our actionable business decisions.

Tableau: That’s fantastic! Can you give me a specific example of a way that InterWorks helped you?
Joseph: The partnership with InterWorks saved us a lot of headaches. You can pick up Tableau, you can do some easy things, and it's great. But then some of the advanced things that you want to do—you want to put on some error bars onto your graph, or you want to make it change a color at a certain threshold—it needs a little bit of finesse.

Having InterWorks there was amazing because they helped us get off on the right foot right off the bat. We followed best practices from the very first day, and it helped us not waste development time and (for example) have to throw away work because it wasn't quite best practices and we had to redo it later on.

Tableau: What kind of data are you looking at in Tableau? Anything that stands out in your mind?
Joseph: We're really getting great results out of our Salesforce data. With Tableau, we're able to hook up directly to Salesforce data and see our opportunities and manage forecasting.

But we're also able to do some really cool analyses that they just weren't able to do in Excel in the past. And that's where I'm seeing 'ah-hah' moments where they say, 'Oh, my God, I've never seen our Salesforce data in this perspective before!’”

Tableau: Wow. Are you doing other things with your Salesforce data?
Joseph: Salesforce is our lead and opportunity management tool. But it's not our financial system of record. Wiith Tableau, we're able to blend that data on the fly with our system of record for financial data and see some bigger trends and better funnels of opportunity to close (deals) for our institutional team.

Tableau: What else are you doing with your data these days?
Joseph: We're trying to really get more and more in contact with our customers and really increase their satisfaction. Some of our customer outreach operations, they're doing custom analysis to do different trends over who's enjoying it, are they having different usage patterns? Can we do things to help these people and get more of our customer base to enjoy our product?

So it's coming a bit more away from business intelligence and more into operational intelligence and helping people in a real-time situation. With Tableau, they can get a much more holistic view of all of their data and get a better understanding.

Our biggest consumers are our financial team. They constantly are doing different pricing models. They're doing different analysis on whether certain marketing campaigns work, should we repeat it? What markets are doing well? So they're our biggest and by far the best. They check a lot of our sales data and do a lot of different year-over-year analysis depending even on our direct-to-consumer vertical. They will even go daily, year-over-year, day-to-day kind of analysis to see ‘Is Mother’s Day doing as well this year as it did last year? Is Black Friday doing well or is cyber Monday doing well?’

Tableau: What was your business intelligence process like before Tableau?
Joseph: I saw so many people in our company that looked at business intelligence as really just data dumps—and then they would try to intuit a solution out of a massive, million-record data file with 150 columns.

And they would try to dig for a week on end to try to make up a business decision. Versus what I see Tableau is you have a business question and you can just dive in and find an answer.

Tableau: That’s great to hear! How has using Tableau helped you, personally?
Joseph: We have a very small team for such a large company. We can't possibly keep up with the demand for data So the more that we can get people self-reliant, the happier we will be.

I would imagine without Tableau, I would probably have a pretty huge backlog of work to catch up on!

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