Business Intelligence


Peabody provide affordable housing and care and support services for London, Essex and the South East.

Technologies Used:

Services Used:

Peabody own and manage approximately 50,000 affordable rented homes and houses for around 111,000 people. Their range of services also features specialist housing and care and support services for around 13,000 people in London, Essex and the South East. Their clients include adults with learning disabilities, older people and teenagers leaving care. Peabody helps to give them the care and support they need to live, living lives of choice and not dependency. With their home-based health services, they aim to make considerable savings to the NHS by promoting their health and wellbeing initiatives.

The Need for Speed

Like a lot of companies with vast and disparate sources of data, Peabody recognised the need to unlock the potential of their data for insight. Peabody operate from multiple software platforms including Northgate, Keystone and BlueBox across SQL and Oracle.

Tableau was a natural choice for them with its native connectors. After the initial demo, David Solomons was wowed by Tableau’s capabilities and knew it would be a solution that would deliver fast, self-service BI across the business. Their current reporting was slow and painstakingly manual, the corporate reporting pack still often involved cutting and pasting from document to document, all sent around by email.

The Hurdle

It wasn’t all plain sailing. Peabody operate a Citrix environment, by itself no big challenge for Tableau; however, theirs is a non-persistent environment. With a fresh rebuild every day, licence keys would not stick! Glen Robinson, InterWorks’ own Server Accredited Consultant, scripted a solution that smoothly handled the registration process resulting in the expected seamless user experience when using Tableau.

“We need to spend more time analyzing the data and less time in churning out endless reams of numbers.”

– David Solomons, Peabody

A Solution Built for Sustainability

Peabody have taken advantage of Tableau’s “land-and-expand” model with an initial purchase of both Desktop and Server licences, keeping gradual expansion across the business in mind. InterWorks worked with the multiple department heads across the organisation and delivered a Combo training course that covered basic and some intermediate topics. Typical of most InterWorks trainings, a mix of people attended the training – all learning the same tool but all coming at it from a different point of view. Some thought this would “rock over Excel,” others simply saw why Tableau could offer a benefit to the business.

Key Points

  • Followed “land & expand”
  • Diverse Tableau training
  • Tableau’s value apparent

“InterWorks were invaluable in helping us to understand how our disparate pools of business data might best be organised into coherent streams to be fed into Tableau Server and analysed thereafter. With our data shaped by historic layers of accreted business logic (much of it never written down), that was no small task. Now, we are within touching distance of being self-sufficient around organising our business data for a new ‘Tableau age’ within Peabody.”

– David Solomons, Peabody

Tableau at Work

It’s clear that diving into Tableau was a big step for David and the entire Data Team at Peabody. Coming from a sluggish, traditional corporate reporting structure left much to be desired. At the start of the project, David described in detail the Peabody data utopia.

“I would say some combination of my Data Team doing more analysis and less number-crunching; the Data Team being able to report on previously under or un-analyzed areas of operation; front-line managers having access to self-serve reporting; and telling the business something that it didn’t already know.”

– David Solomons, Peabody

Major Improvements

  • Speed to data
  • Self-service reporting
  • Higher-quality work

Now that Tableau has been firmly established within Peabody, the change in their data practice is night and day from before. Aside from the obvious speed-to-data improvements, Data Team staff members have greatly improved the quality of their work and overall operational efficiency.

Staff here have been amazed at the kind of data – and, more importantly, data ANALYSIS – that they can now access almost live. Our dashboards are now works of art to rival those of Caravaggio. The project also allowed us to move towards our stated desire to report direct and unmediated from our core business systems and push data quality and data handling upstream.”

– David Solomons, Peabody

By adopting Tableau with such readiness and taking the time to learn the tool properly via InterWorks’ Tableau training, Peabody now find themselves much closer to that data utopia mentioned by David. Many of their antiquated data processes are now in the past where they belong. Even better, analysts and managers alike have the power to do more with their data. Perhaps most importantly, Peabody have a framework designed to grow as they do. For an industry that’s always in flux, that flexibility is everything.

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