Making sense out of cumbersome social data

DataSift helps clients analyze huge amounts of social data. In this video, director of alliances and channels James Ritchie, senior director and head of alliances and channels Todd Lloyd, and Senior Architect Tim Shea discuss how Tableau allows them to visualize “what types of insights are actually buried in” the data.

Tableau: What does DataSift do? Todd Lloyd, Senior Director: So DataSift, what we do is we provide rich social data access to a wide variety of social data sources, as well as do all the processing of that social data. So social data is often very hard for our customers to work with. It's big, it's unwieldy, it's unstructured, and DataSift will process it, enrich it and curate that information so that customers can consume it easily and bring it into their enterprise. Tableau has really helped us because we solve part of the equation for our customers. We provide this access and enrichments to this great social data, but they only have the data. They still need to do something with that data. So Tableau has brought the analytics side to the equation and helping our customers being able to get that data and extract insights from that data so they can really do something productive for their business.

…what Tableau does so well is really highlight the value of social data by providing rapid dashboards and different types of insights, and looking at social data in different ways that people can't do.

Tableau: What does Tableau allow you to do that you couldn’t before? Tim Shea, Senior Architect: I think where Tableau really shines is allows you to bring your own questions and hypotheses into the equation. So if you have certain skills to bear, certain domain expertise, you can apply that in a data visualization context, and really begin to show off things that you know in a rich, you know, visual format. So working with Tableau has been great for me. I think the great thing about Tableau is it allows you to bring your own skills to bear. If you have a background in journalism or advertising or statistics, you can ask those types of questions in Tableau. So it allows many different types of people to interrogate the same dataset and come up with different types of questions and answers. Tableau: What particular problems has Tableau helped you solve? James Ritchie, Director: Some of the key business problems that I think the combination of DataSift and Tableau really helps people solve is that combining internal business data, the insight from internal business data, in combination with social data, so providing new customer insight, competitive insight, which could be used for product development, improving customer service, so a whole range of uses. Tableau: What was it like before Tableau? Todd: Before we used a variety of different tools in terms of how we looked at and analyzed data. I think some of it was -- you know, could be a little laborious in terms of getting the insights for the types of information we were looking for. And I think what Tableau has enabled DataSift is to look at information very quickly, so we can iterate and come up with different options or different ideas or hypotheses very quickly and validate some of our answers and conclusions, and just provide some very nice aesthetic results, you know, that we can do for blogs and promotional pieces as well. Tableau: Has Tableau allowed for new insights into your data? Todd: We provide social data and social data processing, and what Tableau does so well is really highlight the value of social data by providing rapid dashboards and different types of insights, and looking at social data in different ways that people can't do. Tableau really highlights that value prop of social data in in social data analytics. Tableau: How do customers react to Tableau? Tim: Customers react very positively when we show them the combination of DataSift and Tableau. You know, DataSift does all the heavy lifting in terms of aggregating data across many, many sources and putting it into a neat package. But sometimes those datasets are quite large, and Tableau does an amazing job of, you know, visualizing what types of insights are actually buried in there. You know, there's always things that you don't expect to see, and Tableau allows those things to jump right out at customers. Tableau: How has Tableau been as a partner? James: It's fantastic. The cultures are we've got a really good cultural fit, and the combination of DataSift and Tableau is really compelling for customers. Todd: I would say from a partnership perspective Tableau's just been a great partner in terms of, you know, we've done promotional materials together, we've done a number of events together, and just a lot of great professionals and a lot of great people to work with, and have been just a tremendous partner. James: So working with Tableau here in Europe, we get access to this community of users and customers who have so much enthusiasm and passion for what Tableau is already doing for them. And when they can see what they can achieve when they add in social data using the DataSift platform, it just opens up so many possibilities for them. Working with Tableau here in Europe is great fun, because the Tableau team, they've got so much passion, so much energy, and that really rubs off when we talk with clients together and the opportunity that the combination of DataSift and Tableau offers to clients makes it great fun to work together.