Simplifying the Complex: How Tableau Offers Best-In-Class Reporting

by Ovative Group
April 6, 2016

What’s inside?

  • What prompted Ovative to re-evaluate current reporting platform
  • The approach we took to selecting a reporting visualization tool
  • The benefits of Tableau
  • How Tableau will raise the bar for our clients and bring them best in class reporting to answer their toughest questions

Ovative & Tableau Sitting in a Tree…

tableau logoSo, a CRM system, digital sales data, and in-store sales data walk into a bar. With so much in common and inevitably some attraction, a good story is bound to emerge. What is it? Well, it’s complicated.

The availability of data is growing exponentially and rightfully so, clients are itching to use it to answer the more complex questions puzzling their industry. This often times involves multiple, large, disparate data sources that need to be connected.

Furthermore, it needs to be transformed into something to then be communicated in a meaningful and consumable manner to people in all departments at all levels. Well, not all these people speak the same language, and what do you do when you can’t communicate with words?

Draw a picture.

Tableau is providing the means of telling data’s story to our clients through data integration and visualizations that reveal the hidden gems concealed within rows and rows of numbers. You could say, they had us at tab-heleau.


What Prompted Us to Re-Evaluate Our Current Reporting Platform?

excel not workingIt’s no secret the world of Digital Marketing is changing and becoming more demanding in order to remain competitive, regardless of industry.

There is a widespread desire for sophisticated and granular data sets built off of complex methodologies to be reported in a simplified and insightful manner without spending incremental time or effort; oh and the ability to access the data for ad hoc analyses – talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

Knowing these needs, we began an in-depth audit of Excel’s reporting capabilities and sought to understand if it would be able to support the current and future initiatives of our clients. We quickly realized the answer was “no.”


The most apparent shortcomings of Excel based reporting were its static nature and the amount of manual effort required. Calculations, data refreshes, changes/updates, and distribution are all manual, leading to increased room for human error as well as analyst time.

Also, Excel offers a very limited amount of visualization options, constricting Ovative’s ability to show data in the most consumable way. Lastly, Excel is not scalable enough to keep up with the efforts to deepen the level of granularity of our data.

Excel’s limitations highlighted the need for Ovative to up their reporting game and led to an evaluation of multiple visualization tools.

How Did We Evaluate the Vast World of Data Visualization Tools?

The foundational goal of this venture was to find a tool that would provide our team with the capability to create actionable reports for our clients. We assessed top competitors in the data visualization industry on over 20 attributes from both internal and external perspectives.

Characteristics considered included customization capabilities, hosting requirements, ease of use, performance/speed, customer support, distribution/UX, and interactivity. Most importantly, the tool needed to be able to work with a variety of data types.

data visualization vendor selection matrix

After research, pilots, and demos Tableau proved worthy of their industry leading title (with an EV/EBITDA 2.5 times the industry benchmark). The key differentiators of Tableau versus its competitors included drag and drop intuitiveness for building real-time dashboards and unmatched community support for an accelerated learning experience.

We’re confident that Tableau will unlock the value of our clients’ data and consequently open up opportunities to drive action and move the needle.

The Benefits of Tableau: Stunning Visualizations, Data Integration, & Self-Serve Data

Value from Tableau was extracted immediately. First from our retail clients, who received holiday performance reports via Tableau. Holiday sales and customer acquisition data was quickly integrated into the system and informative dashboards were created without much delay.

tableau data visualization

Right away we were able to see the vast power Tableau has to offer. Never before seen cross-functional reports were able to be developed and communicated with remarkable dynamic visualizations and drill-ability to provide a new view into their site performance. A wise woman once said: If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it … so we did. Since October, Ovative has created a team of 12 Tableau users.

What would be cumbersome, arduous, and error prone in Excel is now quicker and more efficient in Tableau thanks to the seamless connections with programs such as Big Query and our internal data environment, ODE.

Connections such as these are allowing Ovative to get to actionable insights faster and opening the door for more exciting analysis. Think bigger, not just data sources meeting for a wine and cheese shindig, but cross-functional team reports coming together to throw the party of the year (ft. T-Swift).


Not a party person? Well the good news is this data convergence is now at your fingertips to peruse on your own. With Tableau at our side, we are making it easy for our clients to access their data in a way they have never had before.

By utilizing Tableau Server, our clients are able to get to their data and answer internal questions quickly without having to submit a request and wait for the data magicians to develop a particular dataset for their ad-hoc reporting needs.

The importance of visual analytics, data integration, and self-serve data are unavoidable in any industry and Tableau is helping our clients stay competitive by offering solutions to these universal needs.

What is Next?

Since implementing Tableau, we have been able to utilize the data integration features and advanced visualizations to understand sophisticated concepts such as online influence on offline sales, lifetime value, frequency cap recommendations, and merge sales data with CRM systems.

We have also been able to further unlock the value of Google’s Attribution 360 (formally known as Adometry), by using Tableau reports as opposed to the user interface for a more concise dashboard.

Now excuse us while we ride off into the sunset of data together and start something wonderful.

Resources and References: 1

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