Our client had been using IBM Cognos reporting software for some time, however it was no longer meeting the needs of their business.
Their National Finance Centre (NFC) team had little to no ability to customise reports and manage their general ledger effectively. Additionally, making changes to the data structure was a sizeable challenge, and the business was becoming increasingly frustrated by the significant effort required to interrogate, analyse and visualise their data.
The organisation sought a new business intelligence (BI) solution that was flexible, adaptable and easy to use. They had identified several potential Cognos replacements, but needed guidance on which solution was best suited to both their current and future requirements.
We were engaged to identify the most appropriate BI tool and implement the preferred solution.
After establishing a rich understanding of the organisation and operations, we identified Tableau as the optimal solution for generating customised reporting, visual analytics, self-service financial reporting and analytics.
Tableau was selected for several reasons:
- Ease of use: Our client needed a solution that could be managed in-house by their NFC team, without reliance on IT resource. Tableau is built for the everyday business user, which means it can be easily used to rapidly load, clean, analyse, interrogate and visualise complex datasets to gain actionable insights.
- Geospatial: Operating across multiple countries and geographies, the organisation needed to be able to analyse data by region. Tableau is the market leader in data visualisation and its ability to support visual analyses of geographical data is among its greatest strengths.
- Trends and forecasting: As a growing business, it was essential that the platform could support sophisticated trend analysis and forecasting. Both are inherent features of Tableau.
- Security: With highly sensitive commercial data at stake, it was imperative for the chosen solution to have strong security. Tableau’s authentication and authorisation features met all of the organisation’s stringent data and application security requirements.
- Data structure: Our client required metadata-based reporting, in which the metadata for all data sources was stored centrally. Users needed to be able to connect to a central data source to create reports, thereby using consistent metadata. Tableau Data Server was the perfect fit.
We first developed a security model, assisted in building a back-end abstraction layer on top of their data structures, and managed the installation of the Tableau Server.
Over the following months, we designed and built a suite of customised Tableau reports and visualisations, including General Ledger reporting to support the NFC team and create a deeper understanding of enterprise performance.
Finally, we provided training and support for the in-house team to uplift their skills and ensure they would be ready to take ownership of the new enterprise analytics platform.
Tableau users within the business are extremely positive about the user experience, and team members are now empowered to easily and efficiently surface insights from their data. Compelling visualisations make complex data accessible and assist in communicating data insights to internal stakeholders and management.