Tableau: You’re known as “the Father of Data Warehousing.” How did you move from that to your current focus on unstructured data?
Bill Inmon, Owner: I originally thought up the idea of data warehousing and started writing books about it. I wrote the first book about it, I ran the first conference about data warehousing. So most people know about me from my experience with data warehouse. In reality, for the past 10 years or so I've been working on unstructured data.
At Forest Rim we take unstructured textual data and turn it into a database. Now, we've been doing this for a number of years, and we discovered that, uh, people don't really want to buy databases. It was only until we took the results of what we did, put it into Tableau, that people suddenly understood what we were doing and said, gee, that's really what I want for my business.
Tableau: Why do you think it made such a difference?
Bill: The difference between showing somebody raw data and showing them visualized data is truly night and day. And I say that not because I love Tableau or anything, I say that because it's true.
All of a sudden they can see relationships, they can see visualizations, they it comes alive for them. And it's that coming alive that gets our customers to the point of buying our product.
Tableau was just a natural fit with what we do. In terms of seeing the power of Tableau, it was all measured in the difference that it made in our customers' faces. We used to see customers looking and looking at a database and they were polite but they would say, what's this? And the minute that we took the results and put them in Tableau, the light bulbs went off. So our proof in the pudding was the light bulbs going off in our customers' eyes.
Tableau: What would the impact be if you didn’t have Tableau?
Bill: If we didn't have Tableau as a tool, it would be very difficult for us to explain the value proposition of what we do. I mean, it's made the difference between having an easy sale and a very difficult sale. Tableau will be with us as long as we like to make sales.
It's pretty simple what the biggest value of using Tableau is. It means that we get to where the customer wants to pay us money for our product. And that's really basic and really simple.
It's pretty easy to explain Tableau to other people. Tableau is what turns the lights on in the room, that we do things, we do some incredibly difficult things, but in terms of people understanding what we do, it's only when we put it in Tableau that that understanding comes easy.
I liken what we do to a relay race in track. In a relay race in track one person starts off and around the track and takes the baton, another person takes the baton and -- and the next thing you know is the final person gets the baton and crosses the finish line.
Tableau has made it possible for us to illustrate to our customer base what we do. And I'm just delighted that we have the relationship with Tableau.