Drawing Insights on Key Performance Areas
Princi tells how Tableau was able to dramatically increase the speed and effectiveness of their analytical capabilities. He recalls, “We were approached by an internet apparel retailer that at that time was specifically focused on lingerie. They needed us to provide financial backing with a letter of credit so they could buy inventory. So we jumped in, but it quickly morphed from a model that was us providing simply financing to us taking a controlling stake in the business.” He continued, “In the year and a half they were in the business they collected a tremendous amount of data, but were not able to really draw any conclusions. This is often the problem when you’re given a lot a data - you’re not really sure what to do with it.”
Princi wanted to use the data to drive decisions. “The historical method of looking at this data is very slow and time consuming, but in a short time we needed to make decisions and understand the dynamics of the business in order to create greater returns. We wanted to be able to draw insights looking at key performance areas – online advertising, operations, and customer service. Our goal was to get a set of metrics that tell how the business is responding to any of the changes we might propose, as well as the potential for organic verses acquisitive growth”.
Knowing What Questions to Ask
Princi and his team began exploring the data. “We started to track gross margins, number of orders, and total revenue to see the difference between this year and last year over the same time period. The thing that jumped out was absolutely business was doing much better in 2006 during the same time period, so we started to ask questions as to why that was.” They isolated one important factor: “We didn’t have magnitude of the back order and fill rate issues in the beginning that we now currently have.”
This first snapshot gives a sense of where things stood when ThoughtStorm came on board.