Background to Implementation
Struggle to achieve self-service Business Intelligence
TDK Group continues to utilize technology to give back to society and achieve a sustainable, happy community. At present, under the Digi-TDK banner, we are moving ahead with two types of transformations, “Energy Transformation (EX)” and “Digital Transformation (DX),” to accelerate our sustainability initiatives. Active utilization of data plays a key role in sustaining these efforts.
“There was already a strong awareness of the importance of making decisions based on data,” said Takao Aoki, who is responsible for business intelligence-related systems in TDK’s Information Systems Division and is currently leading the Tableau Implementation Team in the Business Systems - Operational Support Group. However, before the implementation of Tableau, Excel VBA was the primary tool used for in-house development. Although there was an effort made to implement BI products, users were not able to make use of them as well as anticipated, and users often ended up performing analysis with Excel sheets.
“We did provide some tools developed from scratch for VBA or the web, but they were not good for data visualization. Even if the tools were used to output cross tables, it was common practice for users to run that data through Excel as a secondary process,” said Aoki. “In addition, we also actually tried out other products for which we had licenses and tested other similar well-known tools in the self BI sector, but we never quite managed to enable completely unrestricted self-service analysis of data.”
Tableau Implementation and Operation
From a single division to a company-wide platform
One day, a division head came to Aoki with a question. “My subordinates are having a lot of their time every month eaten up by data analysis. Some people have recommended Tableau recently. Could we use that?” Aoki’s team took this and offered the division head an improvement idea using Tableau Desktop. This idea ended up being a success that satisfied users.
Later, the Marketing Division also expressed interest in using Tableau, and Tableau Server was installed. In 2019, the service was expanded throughout the entire company and has become TDK’s standard BI platform. Tableau usage has been skyrocketing ever since, reaching around 1,100 users and over 10,000 monthly accesses in July 2021.
One particularly active hub of Tableau use has been the Communication Devices Business Group, which is responsible for the production of 5G chip antennas at the Electronic Components Business Company.
Manabu Echigoya, head of the Production Technology Department in Mobile RF Components Supervision in the same group, explained as follows. “We used Tableau Prep Builder to combine into a single database the log data / process performance data saved on the Oracle database and the product information data saved on PostgreSQL. We then published that to Tableau Server for analysis. Tableau is easy to use, so there’s a constant flow of data to analyze. We’ve been working on IoT for five years now, but I think it’s thanks to Tableau that our analysis platform is finally in place.”