Visa Europe Charges up Its Data Storytelling

What will increase by using Tableau is two things: Your speed to understanding and realizing the value will be great. What you'll find at the end of it is that your product is just exciting to engage with. The days of boring graphs and lack of insight ...they should be gone.

Tableau: What kind of data do you work with at Visa Europe?
Simon Gatenby, VP of Segmentation & Targeting, Visa Europe: Most of the stuff at Visa Europe is highly structured data—we deal with payments information. In fact, it's about as structured as you will get. Very, very ordered, very, very structured. From that perspective, it is a very simple model, we have records of transactions.

Tableau: Can you give us a sense of how your use of data has evolved at Visa Europe?
Simon: We've gone a very linear path. We've built the warehouse, we've built the data governance around the warehouse, we've built the analytics layer.

We've invested a lot of time in organizing and structuring our data and placing it in a warehouse and putting best-in-class analytics on top of that. The key now is about taking those analytics and that meaning and translating it into a story that we can play to our users, be they internal, you know, our internal stakeholders, or more importantly now as we try to realize the value of this data, to our external parties.

Tableau: Can you tell us how the Visa Europe “Tableau story” started?
Simon: How did it start? It started with a rant from me that kind of the way we were presenting stuff was taking far too long. So long projects, long engagements and poor-quality deliverables.

And I took a sort of almost unilateral decision, with the organization's support, to trial some things. So (we did) a three-month proof of concept about how we can go from data to visualization.

Tableau: And what could you tell after three months? Was that long enough?
Simon: With a 12-week implementation, we are able to deliver something quickly that is sharper and more engaging than anything we've been able to do in the past. And really what we have, then, is a rolling thunder in the organization of, "I want some of that, please." So we've rolled out that way and we've just seen it organically grow in the organization as people want more and more.

Tableau: That’s great to hear! It sounds like you’re expanding the footprint of Tableau at Visa Europe, then. How is that going?
Simon: So because the deployment model is flexible, because the license costs aren't prohibitive, and because we can grow it organically, we don't have that big bit of decision point. And then we can scale this thing out in a very, very easy way.

Tableau: Do you have any advice for people thinking about using Tableau?
Simon: The kind of disciplines around good information management, around organizing your informational state, around dealing with all the data quality and data governance issues, around documentation, development life cycles don't go away. They stay and stay with you. And that's just good practice. But if you're a way down that journey and what you're struggling with is to engage people with your data and the value it liberates, Tableau is -- Tableau is the thing for you.

Tableau: What kind of benefits would you say those customers—the ones who are down that road— could expect from the decision to implement Tableau?
Simon: Your speed to understanding and realizing the value will be great. And what you'll find at the end of it is that your product is just exciting to engage with. The days of boring graphs and lack of insight because you just can't see past the font is the wrong shape and the color's the wrong shade and everything doesn't line up...they should be gone. So you should get people concentrating on the real thing, which is the value and the insight that the data gives, because the presentation is so nice and agile and flexible and attractive.