By leveraging business intelligence technology to maximize access to data, Thorogood delivers insights that provide a competitive advantage to their customers in finance, consumer packaged goods, and pharmaceuticals. Thorogood’s Director Paul Balacky met up with us to share how Thorogood uses Tableau to provide sophisticated analytics. “Traditional BI is quite summarized,” he explains. “Tableau allows you to drill in and see what you can’t see at a very high-level summary view.”
Tableau: How is Thorogood growing adoption of Tableau?
Paul: The uptake of Tableau is interesting. As a company, we run BI update events and breakfast briefings and webcasts with Tableau, and we've created a lot of interest; some very good companies are being attracted to the power of Tableau. They are keenly interested in extending the use of Tableau beyond just a number of very good analysts and distribute it across their organizations. The growth within our customers is in sharing and extending and expanding their use of Tableau.
Tableau: What do your customers value most about Tableau?
Paul: They may have data warehouses which consolidate and aggregate that data in one place, but there's always a requirement to get data from elsewhere, and that's where people are looking at Tableau—it gives people the ability to go on and do it for themselves, to make those connections. It’s really self-service and data access and speed—because Tableau is very quick to create some of those visualizations.
Customers want to get more sophisticated. They see the value in having all of this data, but to realize that value they need analytics to be able to drill and -- and just see the insight that's there, any stories or any relationships that you can't see on looking at a very high level summary view of it, consolidated view.
Tableau: So, you find that they value the self-service business intelligence capabilities in Tableau?
Paul: It’s to do with ease of use, the ability to self-serve—the idea that people can get to all of the data that's in their business. People are looking to understand their data better, always. They’re looking for trends and insights, connections.
You may have a report which tells you that a set of customers or a particular region is doing particularly bad, but why and what is that about really? The ability to drill in and get into the detail is very important, and Tableau makes it much easier for people to do that.
Tableau: How does Tableau compare with traditional business intelligence technologies?
Paul: It's a movement from the traditional to the next step forward, and that's what our business is about; It's our lifeblood really. Tableau is a new wave in that we've got a traditional BI environment with all the traditional guys, Business Objects, Microsoft, the Oracle, Cognos and IBM, but what we're looking at here is a tool that can do an awful lot with a much lighter touch really. Tableau sits and points at data and allows the user just to get on and do their analysis.
Traditional BI is all about really delivering information on the state of the business at a level that's quite high, it's quite summarized. There's the ability, you know, with some of the older technologies to be able to drill down and look at some of the detail. But it tends to take a lot of effort to do that. There's quite a high cost of ownership, and it's an awful lot of work needs to happen to get behind that.
Tableau: How does Tableau impact your customer’s business?
Paul: Customers need to get their insight earlier and quicker, and Tableau certainly can do that. Things are moving a lot quicker in business. Certainly the volumes of data are increasing significantly, and the spread of that data is being captured in different channels through different environments. Being able to pull that together quickly to get insight and view what's happening without an excess level of bureaucracy or IT control really on top of that is a key benefit.
Tableau: And how does Tableau impact your IT group?
Paul: In essence IT is still there giving governance, assuring the quality of the data, making sure security is correct, but the ability to drop Tableau in enables business people to get on themselves and look at data. I think it's very clever in the way it does it actually.
Tableau: How has your relationship with Tableau grown at Thorogood?
Paul: In the last 18 months, there's certainly been an uptake in our customer base and we’ve taken a very keen interest in Tableau and we're now engaging with Tableau as a partner, and we're looking forward to that relationship. Tableau is very open and easy to get on with.