Tableau: Who is using the reports your team creates?
Adam: The consumers for our reports vary a lot. It depends. I'm an accountant. We do a lot of financial. So our financial community varies from bureau CFOs down to the actual accountants and analysts that fix the problems.
Tableau: Can you talk about some of the challenges with data insight that you’ve been able to overcome with Tableau?
Adam: Some of the reporting challenges we've had are with our audit. We're always trying to improve and proactively find actionable information.
We had these scorecards—they were red, yellow and green. And they took forever to pull the data into Excel. Even the summary sheet had 25 tabs on it with different data.
Now, they're all in Tableau and they're beautiful. And they not only give people a score, but they direct people where they can go to fix the problem. And so you can actually go from your Bureau total to a customer total, and down to an invoice.
So people are getting that actionable information much quicker. They're looking for it and it's presented in a much better fashion that they're able to use.
And, you know, we're really driving adoption through reports like that. Those “aha” moments are really what drives the adoption. Like I said, we'll visualize anything. And people, not only do they like when they see their data, but they get ideas. And that's really what we're trying to do with it. You know, I feel I've been as creative as I ever was before.
Tableau: That’s fantastic! Can you tell us a little about a success story you’ve had with Tableau?
Adam: So some of our metrics are multiple data sources blended together, which is a beautiful thing, because not all data is pretty.
One particular area that really helped us recently was in our grants monitoring. And so that's when we give money out to people, they're required to get an audit and submit an audit. And if they didn't submit an audit, that's a big problem for our financial audit.
So we actually merge our data with the Federal Audit Clearing House data, and within one year, we were able to drop a significant deficiency. And so if you're not familiar with that, that's bad for your audit. We dropped it within one year, visualizing it in Tableau.
Tableau: Can you share what sort of data sources you’re connecting to in Tableau?
Adam: We have an SAP business warehouse, and we're looking at HANA in the future. So currently we use Business Objects to extract data from the system. We do have a lot of data in flat files and Excel and Access, and things like that. We do also use data from other agencies, like Census and that. Our data is vast and comes from all over.
We have a wide variety of data sources at Interior. We have a SAP financial business system. We also get data from HR systems. We get data from the Federal Audit Clearing House spreadsheets, you know. Whoever has it, you know, we'll visit.
Tableau: One last question—has your job changed since you started with Tableau?
Adam: My job has completely changed since I started using Tableau. I use it every day. I feel empowered to analyze the data and to come to conclusions, and just make people's days better, make their lives easier. So my job is completely different since Tableau. It's just great.