Strike: Saving thousands of dollars with insight from Tableau

Strike is a leading North American provider of pipeline, facilities, fabrication, maintenance and integrity services. The Texas-based company provides energy services to all sectors of the oil, gas, utility, and power industries. Strike’s integrated network of energy services ranges from upstream production, processing and gathering facilities, to high pressure transmission and distribution lines. A rapidly growing company, Strike needed a versatile digital architecture that didn't require major investments of time or money.

In video 1, Megan Pate, Director of Business Information, talks about how the company uses Tableau Server to “bring together information from all different systems” to achieve a single source of truth.

In video 2, Megan talks about partnering with Teknion Data Solutions, a business consulting firm based in Irving, Texas to help implement their data solution.

With Tableau, Strike is able to:

  • Make data widely available internally and to clients
  • Prototype, test, and experiment with different reporting options
  • Solve problems today that might not otherwise be solved

Tableau: What attracted you to Tableau?
Megan Pate, Director of Business Information: Strike has enjoyed some tremendous growth in the past several years. We like to say that the only constant is constant change. And so we were really looking for nimble architecture and something that did not provide high cost or high time, high investment, barriers to entry. We needed something that could be changed down the road as requirements changed.

Tableau: Who at Strike uses Tableau?
Megan: Our Tableau users are spread out among various departments and also at various levels. We have everybody from C-level execs to analysts that use Tableau.

Tableau: Who's using that data?
Megan: We have everyone from executives, so our CEOs are looking at the data, all the way down to someone working in a small shop somewhere. The data typically contains all kinds of variables and each person is different in the level of detail they want to get to. So some like to dig in and get to the very bottom and others are just happy with a single snapshot.

Tableau: What kind of access to data did your clients have before you adopted Tableau?
Megan: Strike was coming from a background of having little to no data access for our users. So we were really coming from an environment with no BI to trying to put something in place for folks.

We had users who were not able to get access to information that was really pertinent to their jobs. We had a mature security model, so we were looking for a way to empower users to get the access that they needed without having to give them the keys to the kingdom, per se.

Tableau: What advantages does Tableau give you?
Megan: Tableau allows us to quickly prototype and test and experiment with different reporting options, different data sources in a way that really removes that barrier of cost and time and resources.

We work with data from all aspects of the organization and all of our source systems. So from our ERP to our field ticketing system which brings in daily equipment and labor hours from the field, to one of the more interesting data sets I've had to work with is we have a GPS tracking system on our fleet, so our trucks and equipment.

And that's provided a lot of really great insights. We can visualize when trucks are idle versus running versus not moving. We can see when they are on a yard versus not on a yard or on a job versus not on a job. So we've been to see that GPS data in a way that we just weren't able to see it from the provider's portal, and then mash that up with our existing data.

It has allowed us to bring together information from all of our different systems so that we are really looking from a single source of truth in the organization. And that's been absolutely critical for us.

Tableau: Where do you get the most value from Tableau?
Megan: The ability to prototype and build things quickly and then change them down the road has really been what we see as a huge value in Tableau. Tableau allows us to solve problems today that might not otherwise be solved. And that's definitely a win for us.

Tableau has allowed us to bring together information from all of our different systems so that we are really looking from a single source of truth in the organization. And that's been absolutely critical for us.

Partnering with Teknion

Tableau: Do you have any advice for anyone just getting started with data analytics?
Megan: If I could give advice to folks that are maybe starting from nothing, it's definitely to find a good partner. We're about a year into our project now, and I can pretty definitively say that we would probably still be trying to find the right resources if we had tried to find them all internally.

So working with a partner, we were able to really gain the expertise and start using best practices from day one so that we didn't make mistakes in the beginning that would haunt us later on.

Tableau: How did Teknion help you?
Megan: We got connected with Teknion—that really solidified the path that we had chosen. The first thing that worked on with them was working on the data warehouse and some master data management projects, and then moving into analytics and Tableau usage for the organization.

We would definitely feel the pain if we didn't have Tableau and the warehouse that Teknion has built for us.

The nimble architecture has been absolutely critical. About a month into starting the project with Teknion, we upgraded our ERP. A lot of the source data changed and had to be remapped. We knew that that change was coming, but we didn't want to delay the project.

And they were able to remap everything and really didn't have any down time in the project because of the tools that we were using.

Tableau: Can you tell me about a success story?
Megan: One of the more concrete examples of the way that our company has used Tableau and Tableau Server fairly quickly, we recently moved buildings. We were now spread out by three floors and nobody knew where anybody sat anymore.

And the company was about to invest between $10,000 and $15,000 on this new video directory system that would sit by the elevators and tell people where they were. I convinced them to give us a week and try to build something in Tableau.

Teknion actually helped us out with that. And in a couple of days, they were able to build an interactive corporate directory with hover-overs and you can click and e-mail the person and everybody can have it embedded in their SharePoint intranet at their desk, and find out where everybody else sits. That was done in just a couple of days and really made that investment in the system that not required.

Tableau: It sounds like partnering with Teknion has been critical for your success.
Megan: Especially if you're starting a BI project from scratch, I can't recommend highly enough finding a good partner that works for you.

They really kept us from making mistakes early on that we would probably still be paying for. That's something that you just can't put a price on.

You might also be interested in...