Cardinal Path blends Google Analytics with internal data

Tableau: How has Cardinal Path leveraged Tableau for your clients?
Melaine Fuentes, Director of Strategic Services: We are a digital analytics consulting firm specializing in developing organizations to make data-driven decisions from all types of different types of data and infrastructures. Tableau has really been an innovator for analytics in its ability to take data and make it presentable in a format that transcends lines from any organization, any level of knowledge. It really enables people to understand and incorporate that data into something meaningful and strategic.
Stéphane Hamel, Director of Strategic Services: Day in, day out, we analyze our clients' data and online behavior of visitors to their website and optimize their online presence. Tableau makes a huge difference in the value and speed and efficiency of making decisions.

Tableau: Tell us about your experience as an early user of Tableau's direct connector to Google Analytics.
Melaine: Tableau's given us a really, really great solution for blending our Google Analytics data and Omniture data with our database data. So things are in a standard DB format—everything from transaction data to customer information to just even organizational information when you're making operational decisions. Now that we have a GA Connector, we can make that seamless transition between online information and offline information, that Web analytics information and that back-end information. And we can really give customers that holistic, 360 view of their organization.
Stéphane: Tableau’s Google Analytics Connector is going to be very, very useful for us because in the past, we had to use the Google Analytics API, extract the data, store it somewhere, and then point out Tableau to that new data source. Now, we’ll be able to hook up directly to the API and be much more efficient in refreshing the data and getting more data easily into Tableau.

That's going to save us a lot of time.

Tableau: How have clients responded to Tableau?
Melaine: Tableau Server as a solution itself makes the organization and the people that you're giving access to excited. It's something that's visual; it's something that's interactive. It gives them power and it also makes it easy for them to understand, so it's not overwhelming.

We’ve seen an evolution in maturity in our clients.

Stéphane: We’ve seen an evolution in maturity in our clients. They start with just a Web analytics tool and then eventually they want to maybe extract some data and bring it into Excel. And then they start to integrate other sources of data, be it Twitter, Facebook, or their back-office data. But that's going to bring them so far. And when they reach that level where Excel is not enough and they really leap forward and go with something that is much more advanced and will do deeper analysis and bring much more valuable insight, that's where Tableau really comes in and brings them to the next level of analysis.

Tableau: What types of insight can you drive by combining Google Analytics data with other data sources?
Stéphane: Oftentimes in Web analytics, you see the online behavior and you see who is actually purchasing or doing the business outcomes that you're tracking. And you get the business information or the operational data in the back office. Where it becomes interesting also is to track the user from the acquisition source and track it down on the website or the digital channel—be it social media, the website, whatever—and track them down until the actual purchase and transaction in the back end. Once you get that, you can start to analyze those who actually purchase or did the business outcomes, but also, and maybe more interestingly, look at those who didn't do it and understand why they didn't do it, because that behavior is online and you typically don't see it in your operational systems.

Tableau: What are your plans for Tableau in the future?
Stéphane: My dream is that eventually we basically on-board our clients into Tableau and make it seamlessly part of our service so that we know from our end that we’re using Tableau and we're gonna be much more efficient in the way that we provide value to our clients. Going beyond the tool and thinking in terms of business value: making the data available so that people can take business decisions on their own. Our role as consultants is to enable that. It's to enable the connectivity of the data, make it available, and make it seamless and ubiquitous so that they have access to the power and the visualizations to make their jobs easier.

Tableau: What excites you most about Tableau?
Melaine: One of the best things about being an analyst is really telling that story and making it come to life. And it's not just a static photo; it's really about the big picture. When you can really almost create a movie about one simple data point, that's exciting. And Tableau gives us that ability.
Stéphane: One of my catch phrases is: Data is the raw material of my craft. I see my role, my job as being a craftsman. Data is the raw material and Tableau is really the tool that I'm using to turn that data into a piece of art and make it something very useful and interesting and beautiful.

Tableau: How has it been working with Tableau as a partner?
Melaine: The experience with Tableau as a partnership has been amazing. I can't say that there's ever been a time where I needed some sort of resource help and I haven't gotten it. You know, e-mails, phone calls, you name it, it's on-the-spot information and help which you don’t always get from a partnership. But I have to say that the experience has been amazing. Being here at the Tableau conference has just been an inspiration. Seeing the variety of customers and the ability of what customers are doing, it just makes you feel like you can do so much more and makes you want to be better.