HWC: Seeing the larger story for government agencies


HWC specializes in helping government agencies—both local and federal—through services that include organizational strategy, analytics, and program management. Senior Associate, Teri Caswell, and Associate Kyle Pipkins share how they improve processes with help from Tableau.

After Tableau, HWC has been able to:

  • Cut time-to-insight by days, weeks, even months
  • Help decision-makers to defend their choices through clear understanding of the data
  • Provide clarity into what the data says—and what it doesn’t say.

Tableau: In what way is Tableau beneficial to government agencies?
Kyle Pipkins, Associate: In my opinion, the public sector can benefit from using Tableau for things like exploratory data analysis because it speeds up the process to insight.

And so if you can take what normally might be a five-day process and turn it into a one-hour process, I mean, there's a huge return there. And the investment is very minimal when you're talking about those types of changes and that reduction of time.

You can bring in a tool that's very cost effective and actually speed up the delivery of products by the magnitude of 500 percent.

Tableau: How are you using Tableau to improve understanding of data governance?
Teri: Data governance is a hot topic in the government sector. There have been a lot of policy changes in the last few years, and some that are just occurring as we speak. The problem that it has caused is that people who make decisions in the government, the elected officials usually are not there to see the end result of their policy changes. And the people who drive the analysis to support the change usually are working on some fairly antiquated systems.

So what we're able to do with Tableau, and one of the areas that I personally enjoy the most is to be able to gently illustrate to them what their data does not say. And we can drive some analysis in those areas as well.

Teri: It's not just about the final number or the aggregates, it's the gaps of the data. And we can say this data needs to be sourced from this particular agency or this different specific capture moment. And if it's blank or it's improper, we can identify it very quickly, make the substantive changes, sometimes even a policy change, and improve that capture so that the analysis is available for progress and decision-making.

Kyle: What we like about Tableau is it also helps us on the back end. So a lot of people don't focus on the back end of data collection and writing queries and establishing connections to databases and things like that. But there's a lot there on the back end that Tableau helps with that they don't see, so at Hassett Willis, we love it for all of it. And then our clients are really energetic about how quickly we can deliver solutions and then how fantastic and, you know, product ready they are once we get there and get there fast.

We are finding great success with some clients who understand that tools like Tableau allow us to tell a story that's never been told before. We can tell you where the data is and where it isn't. We can ask the "what-if" questions instead of waiting for regenerating reports that take days, weeks, and sometimes months.

Kyle: At Hassett Willis, we support the government - the federal sector. And my primary role is at FEMA and at DHS. So if I was asked by somebody in the government who's not using Tableau why they should use it, I would say, "To save time." Primarily. Above anything else, it'll save time and it'll create a mature, data-driven culture.

It's still considered an innovative solution in the government when you can bring in a tool that's very cost effective and actually speed up the delivery of products by the magnitude of 500 percent.

Teri: The government is slow. But we are finding great success with some clients who understand that tools like Tableau allow us to tell a story that's never been told before. We can tell you where the data is and where it isn't. We can ask the "what-if" questions instead of waiting for regenerating reports that take days, weeks, and sometimes months.

And by the time they land on someone's desk, either that person doesn't work there any longer, or it's been overcome by events that something else is of more importance. And we don't make progress that way. So it's a speed to insight that really holds true for us. At Hassett Willis, we call it "clear insights" because we are trying to find those compelling stories that drive positive change.

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