Tableau powers data-driven poverty alleviation programs

TNP2K was established by Presidential decree in 2010 as part of a national team to alleviate poverty in Indonesia. TNP2K’s main tasks are to develop poverty reduction policies and programs, as well as, coordinate poverty alleviation initiatives among the national and state authorities.

To help the government officials and policy makers better manage and track poverty alleviation programs, TNP2K regularly analyzes over seven terabytes of data from various sources and in different formats, and present their findings in dashboard reports. With Tableau Software’s easy-to-use interface and rapid-fire data analytic capabilities, TNP2K has been able to easily and quickly gain insights into the data and generate useful visualizations for its audience.

Alleviating poverty across Indonesia

One of TNP2K’s main functions is to help the government ministries, public sector departments and agencies coordinate poverty relief programs. These programs are divided into the family-based cluster, the community-based cluster, and the small- and medium-enterprise cluster. Clusters cater to different aspects of the community; the programs for food and education are estimated to make up 40 percent of the needs across the sectors.

Understanding the data challenges

TNP2K had to effectively process and gain insights into a large amount of data—often over seven terabytes or more than 100 million rows in quantity—and generate reports and visualizations that can help policy makers better manage and track the poverty alleviation programs.

As a coordinator, TNP2K sees a wide variety of data from sources like statutory boards, regional governments and educational institutions and many others. Because the data are provided in various formats—including SQL, text files, and Excel spreadsheets—the team needed a tool that could help them make sense of the large amounts of disordered data.

“One major problem that we faced when using the previous analytic system was size limitations,” said Yugo Guotomo, Business Analyst, TNP2K. “We needed a system that was able to handle the large amount of data effectively.”

The TNP2K team also wanted a data analytics tool that was easy to use so that they could have it up and running as soon as possible without investing too much time on design, implementation and training.

“It was extremely important that we have access to a tool that allows us to submit queries without much effort as not everyone on the team has an IT background,” said Wahyono Kuntohadi, Integrated MIS Manager, TNP2K.

Additionally, TNP2K analysts routinely face tight deadlines as the data required to generate reports often comes in late. This makes analysis using traditional analytics tools close to impossible.

Tableau presents the information in easy-to-understand charts and graphs that clearly show the geographical regions that require aid and areas where the programs are succeeding.

The right tool for the job

The TNP2K team came across Tableau about three years ago. They found that Tableau can be deployed quickly and is able to manage large amounts of data. The team also saw that Tableau allows users to rapidly analyze data and generate impressive reports.

The team liked Tableau’s easy visual interfaces, flexible configurations, and simple administration.

“Tableau presents the information in easy-to-understand charts and graphs that clearly show the geographical regions that require aid and areas where the programs are succeeding,” commented Wahyono.

The TNP2K team also found Tableau to be comparably affordable as it provides end-user freedom in an environment that takes advantage of existing IT infrastructure. TNP2K now taps on Tableau’s powerful analytical capabilities to efficiently interpret data and generate reports that help policy makers design programs such as rice rationing, to tackle poverty problems across the country.

“We needed to ensure that our teams are able to focus on preparing the data effectively, without the need for scripting or coding. This way, we will not impose further burdens on our teams,” Yugo explained.

TNP2K is also able to use Tableau’s to deliver results fast.

Yugo elaborated: “Without Tableau, generating reports on time would be very difficult. For example, we need to generate reports on the Rice Ration Program (Beras Miskin – Raskin) every three months. However, the data is collected only a week prior to the deadline, this includes the challenge of interpreting data from various different formats. With Tableau, we are able to complete the analysis in the timespan of four days to a week. We only need to upload the data into the system and the reports are generated very quickly.”

Data-driven policy making

TNP2K also adopted Tableau Server so teams can access data from the various government agencies easily and effectively.

After analysts create interactive dashboards in Tableau Desktop, they can publish them to Tableau Server. The audience can view these published dashboards on a web browser or over a mobile device.

With Tableau Server, TNP2K can publish their reports in real time to target audiences across the country. Government officials and policy makers are able to access the TNP2K reports online and better understand the effectiveness of their programs.

“Tableau helps us to facilitate requests for intra-ministry data. The software has been instrumental in changing the mindset of many key decision makers in the ministries. It has helped to encourage ministries to maximize their data potential, both in context and content,” commented Wahyono.

According to Yugo, Tableau scores high on user satisfaction and adaptability within his organization. He said his IT staff is now happier, and end users especially like the software’s ease of use and fast speed. In fact, Tableau has been so effective that he has had employees outside of the analysis team requesting for Tableau training.