Ralf Kölle, Product Manager: Tableau is a question-answer machine. I have a question, I use Tableau, I get an answer.
If I didn't have Tableau, things would be much more difficult for us. We wouldn't then have the complete visibility of our data and I imagine we would be successful with a lot fewer clients.
With Tableau I can show it to them directly and say, "Here, look at this."
In 5 minutes, I have a graphic he can understand, and even if that's only ever the first step, once he's taken that step, he's then embarked on a long journey with Tableau.
Tableau: Can you tell us how you’re using Tableau with clients?
Ralf: We've been using Tableau for almost a year and we've had the product and the application for almost a year at SOTEC.
In our main project we're talking about over 500GB of data that we process. It's a shop, a retail shop, and they are purchasing documents in there and we're talking about over a billion documents, so a billion bills. If we were to visualize the whole thing—every bill is about a tenth of a millimeter thick—that would make a pile 100km high.
Tableau has made it possible for us to prepare the data in such a way that we can say to the client, "Look at this, you've now got a story that runs right through from the emergence of your data to the analysis of your data."
In other words, without Tableau it would be much more difficult for us to show the client, to make it clear to the client, where the added value is.
Tableau: Do you also blend disparate data with Tableau?
Ralf: It is also possible to combine data from different sources.
We either do that when we're already dealing with very large data volumes beforehand, so that the different data sources are stored in the database, but with smaller operating data volumes, you can very easily prepare those using Tableau, and incorporate them – they are automatically linked, so that on the one hand you have these 500GB of data, but then where the shops are and how many inhabitants the town has, we would put that in context, in a simple little Excel table, which is somewhere on the computer.
Tableau: Are you enjoying faster insight today?
Ralf: Nowadays nobody wants to and nobody can wait half a day for a report.
And the speed with which the data is analysed, so the speed with which a dashboard is constructed, even on these 500GB of data, it only takes seconds —that means no more hours of waiting.
And the extreme or the big advantage: Previously if I wanted to make a small change to my question I gave it to IT and three weeks later they came back to me and said, OK, your report's ready. And now I can input the changes myself directly, activate them and let them run and I see my result within minutes. It's an evolutionary phase we're going through, and it's very, very important and useful.
Tableau: One last question—how did the availability of our hosted solution, Tableau Cloud, impact your decision to choose Tableau?
Ralf: A big advantage of Tableau is, for example, that I can use it online, that nowadays I don't need to construct my own server structure anymore – I can concentrate on my core business.
I know I'm recording the data, they're stored in the Cloud and I also have Tableau as a solution, I can access it and I know it's available.