InterWorks’ Director of BI Services and Tableau Zen Master, Dan Murray, recently sat down with theCUBE mobile studio during the 2014 Tableau Conference to talk Tableau. InterWorks BI Consultant, Thomas Minnick, also joined the conversation. theCUBE is the flagship show of the SiliconANGLE Network and covers the latest in technology trends and developments.
You can view the full video below or read through the synopsis immediately following it.
Jeff Kelly of Wikibon hosted the discussion, which focused on several aspects of InterWorks’ unique partnership with Tableau and the growing Tableau ecosystem:
- The Value InterWorks Brings to Tableau
- Becoming the First Tableau Partner & InterWorks’ Role
- The Unique Culture of the Tableau Conference
- A Consultant’s Perspective
- InterWorks’ Take on Tableau Software as a Company
- Thoughts on Project Elastic and Tableau Mobile
- Partnership with Tableau and Growth
The Value InterWorks Brings to Tableau
Kelly sparked the conversation by asking about the importance of a professional services partner like InterWorks. Murray explained that InterWorks was designed for the Tableau ecosystem of both products and services. Before becoming a Tableau partner seven years ago, InterWorks already possessed complementary skill sets in web development, SaaS, hardware implementation and networking. He went on to say that the easy part was bringing Tableau into the mix.
“This is a brilliant tool. Everyone needs it; they just don’t know it yet,” said Murray.
Becoming the First Tableau Partner & InterWorks’ Role
For his next question, Kelly was curious how InterWorks came to be Tableau’s very first partner. Murray recounted how it all began. At the time, he was working for a manufacturing company and had used to Tableau to improve the business. Tableau invited him to speak at the very first Tableau Customer Conference in which he shared his success story with conference attendees.
After the conference, Murray received numerous calls from companies asking him to assist with their Tableau needs. After resisting for about nine months, he decided that maybe it was time to pursue the idea of building a BI practice at a company he had previously worked with – InterWorks. InterWorks’ CEO, Behfar Jahanshahi shared Murray’s vision. Murray soon left his old job and joined InterWorks.
“That was the genesis of InterWorks getting into this,” said Murray. “It was a crazy customer that wanted to be a consultant.”
Murray explained how InterWorks now covers the full spectrum of Tableau services, from consulting to training. He summed up InterWorks’ all-encompassing service offering amusingly:
“We literally do everything surrounding Tableau and Tableau.”
The Unique Culture of the Tableau Conference
Kelly and Murray briefly discussed the Tableau Conference and compared it to other software-oriented conferences. Both agreed that the conference had an especially vibrant feel and that attendees were passionate about Tableau.
“It’s almost like an Apple event,” said Murray. “I think it’s even stronger with Tableau. I met people at the first conference whom I’ve been talking to every week since then.”
A Consultant’s Perspective
Kelly directed the next question to Thomas Minnick. He asked Minnick about interactions with clients and the value Tableau brings to them. Minnick used the example of a large bank for which he was currently doing consulting work. He said the biggest challenge for such a large organization is trying to bring data from all of their business units into one place. That way, C-level executives could better understand how the business operates. Minnick explained that Tableau was the perfect tool to achieve just that.
InterWorks’ Take on Tableau Software as a Company
Kelly wanted to know what InterWorks’ thoughts were concerning Tableau as a company and the progress which they’ve made. He brought up the point that Tableau’s competitors used to refer to it as a toy, not an enterprise-level tool. Murray described Tableau’s beginnings and how they’ve catapulted to the top of the BI sphere.
“A few years ago, Tableau was more of a bandit tool that snuck in the back door,” said Murray. “They’ve addressed all those issued that competitors used to use against them. Those are no longer valid arguments.”
Above: (Left to right) Kelly. Murray and Minnick during the interview.
Murray elaborated on specific improvements made by Tableau, including their powerful extract engine. These improvements have made Tableau massively scalable and have given it a distinct advantage over competitors. Murray said that Tableau’s greatest advantage was that it was a discovery engine:
“You’re able to articulate thing in Tableau that people wouldn’t even think of asking about. This discovery aspect is one of the most powerful stories that Tableau has to tell.”
Murray alluded to two other key factors that have contributed to Tableau success as a company. First, they release new versions of their software every 12-15 months. Second, they’re independent. They want to connect to everyone’s stack, not just one stack. By that, Murray means that Tableau wants to be everywhere, used by everyone.
Thoughts on Project Elastic and Tableau Mobile
Kelly directed another question to Minnick, asking him how what value Tableau’s new Project Elastic might bring to clients. Minnick stated that it really depends on the client. The previous bank example he gave has no need to share data outside their building. Inversely, some clients are spread out and need to access to data on the go. For those users, Project Elastic and Tableau Mobile are immensely useful.
Partnership with Tableau and Growth
Kelly and Murray wrapped up the discussion with talk about Tableau’s impact on InterWorks’ growing business. Murray said that Tableau helps InterWorks sell a lot of their other services. It brings in a lot of business for all departments at InterWorks. The benefit for the client is that they can have all of their needs taken care of by one competent partner, something that no other partner can offer quite like InterWorks.
“There’s such a jaw-drop factor with Tableau. You can walk in and, in an hour, show a client something that they just want after that. Tableau is the easy part, the ‘wants’ typically get into all the other things we do.”
Murray assured Kelly that this is just the beginning for Tableau. He even mentioned that he’ll be working on a second edition of “Tableau Your Data!” The new edition will focus on all of the new features that Tableau has planned for Tableau 9.