Transitioning from Spreadsheets to Scalable BI Platforms

As a former accountant, I remember the days of analyzing profit and loss statements one general ledger account at a time — learning nifty spreadsheet techniques to provide reoccurring KPIs to management and repeating the same steps every business cycle. 

As businesses are continually striving to scale, a recent Harvard Business Review study indicates that analysts spend 80 percent of their time discovering and preparing data. That's an awfully long time for analysts to be doing work other than analyzing. Long before this study was released, software companies understood this common across organizations and decided to do something about it. One of these software companies, Tableau Software (Tableau), recently upgraded their product offering adding a new tool that combines, shapes, and cleans data for analysis. Tableau has been recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence for six consecutive years.   

Tableau’s new tool, known as Tableau Prep (“Prep”) is included with the newly created subscription pricing (Creator) package, as well as for existing Tableau Desktop (“Desktop”) users. 

We at Continuus understand why many organizations resist implementing new software solutions.  We recognize the costs associated with training implementing and maintaining new software. More importantly, we understand negative impact software can have on a company’s culture if the product does not match the company’s needs. Alternatively, we understand the opportunity that can be had when software like Tableau is implemented seamlessly and scaled effectively. That is why Prep excites us at Continuus. 

Although spreadsheets are a great way for machines to understand data, the same cannot be said for humans. Unfortunately, humans have had to get accustomed to spreadsheets to accomplish business tasks. Below are a few of the ways that we believe Prep will help many organizations transition their way out of spreadsheet analysis:

Time:

  • Prep is saving companies time by creating repeatable workflows.  Once a flow has been created, 1) save it; 2) refresh the data source the next time analysis is needed - that’s it

Continuus Technology Time Flow

Quality Assurance

  • Unlike many other data preparation tools, flows are easy for users to understand because they’re able to visually gain insight into their data based on the step by step approach that Prep takes 

Continuus Technologies Quality Assurance

Simplicity

  • Current Desktop users will find that Prep will help reduce the need to jump in and out of programs; allowing them to stay in flow of their work
  • Building a workflow in Prep is a simple drag-and-drop interface

Continuus Technologies Workflow

Scalability

  • Tableau offers a variety of content on their website as well as free On-Demand training videos to get users up to speed quickly

Spreadsheets have gone beyond their intended purpose, because people are comfortable with them and business are careful to dedicate time and money towards potentially better alternatives.  Business Intelligence platforms such as Tableau and Alteryx are drastically reducing time to discover and prepare data; allowing analysts time to actually analyze data. Continuus is proud to be a Trusted Alliance Partner with Tableau, as well as a Preferred Service Provider for Alteryx.  We understand the capabilities that each product offers, allowing us to help our clients decide what solution(s) best fit their needs. If you have any questions about Tableau or Alteryx, please reach out to the Continuus team for more details.