JY Pook, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Tableau
For years business intelligence (BI) has been the domain of a few experts who knew how to manipulate complex BI tools to produce the reports that Lines of Business (LOB) and senior management require. But the commodization of IT coupled with the exponential pace at which competition is forcing changing among businesses has brought self-service to the fore of computing.
Equity Research analyst firm William Blair believes that the BI market is experiencing a secular shift to self-service business intelligence and vendors like Tableau are the primary beneficiary. In this Briefly Talking Business Intelligence, Data & Storage Asean discuss the market opportunities with JY Pook, Vice President for Asia Pacific at Tableau.
DSA – What’s the difference between Business Intelligence tools and Big Data Analytics tools?
JY Pook: The main thing to know about working with data is the people. No matter how large or complex the data set is, the key is what the user is trying to discover. At Tableau, we believe that everyone should, and can be empowered to be a user of data, not just data scientists. And to most users, there isn’t that much of a difference between Business Intelligence (BI) tools and Big Data Analytics (BDA) as long as the user is able to explore the data on hand, find answers, make discoveries, and make smarter decisions.
Having said that the idea of Big Data is going main stream arose because more people are recognizing the value of harnessing data that is all around them. From financial services to retail, people are finding that complex data is easier to understand when visualised in charts or graphs. Also, if they can do so easily, they take the ‘Big’ out of Big Data, make data approachable, and enjoy the process of gleaning meaningful insights from it.
DSA – Should BI be put in the hands of ALL staff?
JY Pook: Data is recognised as ‘the oil of the 21st century’. We are finding more businesses, public sector organisations, and individuals increasingly turning to data to become both active contributors and beneficiaries across the Asia Pacific region. Keeping in mind how pivotal the role of data will be in fuelling this smart region, we believe that – with the right safeguards and data governance policies in place – as more people in any organisation become fluent with using data, the more the organisation will stand to benefit from this data-first future.
Tableau helps people see and understand data. We have seen first-hand how self-service, user friendly data analytics and visualisation have reduced inefficiencies in organisations, and raised returns on investments – which explains why we champion the vision of ‘data for all’ with an almost-missionary zeal!
So yes, BI should be placed in the hands of as many people as possible. With Tableau, we are seeing how people of all levels can quickly analyse, visualise data and share information. Tableau users have diverse skill levels and work in all kinds of organisations, including Fortune 500 corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, government agencies, universities, and non-profits. People are tapping Tableau for all kinds of use cases, including increasing sales, streamlining operations, improving customer service, managing investments, assessing quality and safety, studying and treating diseases, and improving education.
DSA – What can a BI product achieve that a spreadsheet cannot?
JY Pook: Visual analytics is the fastest way for people to explore and understand data of all sizes, especially given that humans are visual creatures. People comprehend data better through pictures than by reading numbers in rows and columns. By visualising data, you are able to more effectively ask and answer important questions such as “Where are sales growing,” “What is driving growth” and “What are the characteristics of my customers using different services?”
The benefit of a BI tool like Tableau is that it allows people only seconds to digest and analyse complex data, versus spending hours scrutinising a complicated spreadsheet. Furthermore, with Tableau, users can interact with their dashboards, and ask more questions of their data and make discoveries in the process. Tableau is built to be database agnostic, user-friendly and fast, allowing users to benefit from this rapid-fire analysis.
DSA – What are the key considerations when choosing a BI product?
JY Pook: We understand that different users may have different considerations, requirements and expectations from business intelligence and data analyses. For example, Tableau Desktop is useful for users who need all of their data at their fingertips, and would need to gather insights as quickly and visually as possible from large chunks of data. Tableau Server, on the other hand, enables sharing and collaboration of data across organisations to be quick and efficient, while Tableau Online is useful for organisations that are moving to the cloud and bringing their data with them.
This is why we offer a complete suite of platforms all the way from trial versions to server offerings. This enables users to scale forward or backward, without the worry of being constrained by limitations of conventional enterprise analytics and reporting platforms. Additionally, users have different skill levels. One key consideration for us at Tableau is that our offerings need to be easy to learn and use.
DSA – What’s unique about your BI offering?
JY Pook: Tableau’s rapid-fire analytics is much faster. It is more collaborative and user-friendly at every step in the data workflow compared to more traditional BI tools. Tableau’s unique spirit of simplicity and visual aesthetics really delights our customers as they are easily able to get the answers they want.
Currently, more than 23,000 organisations rely on Tableau, and this ranges from massive organisations to small ones, as well as government bodies, individuals and students. This once again feeds into our vision of ‘data for all.’ Therefore, what is most unique about us is that Tableau offers data analytics and visualisation that is suitable for almost anyone who needs to work with data.