REVIEWER: Linghsueh Shu, a team member of Business Card Risk Management, Wells Fargo Bank. These comments are solely mine and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of my employer, Wells Fargo Bank.

BACKGROUND: Wells Fargo is a diversified financial services company, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance for more than 23 million customers through 6,200 stores, the Internet and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. We're headquartered in San Francisco, but we're decentralized so every local Wells Fargo store is a headquarters for satisfying all our customers' financial needs. Wells Fargo has $482 billion in assets and 153,000+ team members. We're one of the United States' top-40 largest private employers. We ranked fifth in assets and fourth in market value of our stock among our peers as of December 31, 2005.

PLATFORM: Windows XP on a desktop computer.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Before we selected and starting using Tableau, most of our data analysis was completed via SAS and Microsoft Excel. We were seeking a tool that would enable us to directly and more easily extract insights from our data. Specifically, we were seeking a tool that provided data analysis using a visual process.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Tableau is business intelligence software that enables information workers to visually query and interpret the information in databases. This process is called visual analysis. It enables users to transform raw data into smart decisions using a drag-and-drop process that creates vivid, interactive visualizations. Tableau uses scientifically proven layouts to simplify complex information. It turns live data into pictures, meaning current data can be analyzed in different formats with different questions raised until answers become clear. Tableau's query language is a simple drag-and-drop metaphor. Tableau's highly interactive interface is not a static charting wizard or driven by basic templates. Instead, it unites querying and visualization into a single framework so that users can compose a picture that unveils the meaning behind the data. The Wells Fargo Risk Division has two groups: Business Direct, which handles B-Card -Business Card and Regional Banking. There are four groups in B-Card - Business Card: Business Line, Modeling and Analytics (Loss Forecasting), Data Infrastructure and Account Risk Management. Information workers do analyses that measure risk, operations process, fraud investigation, mitigation scenarios, delinquency prediction, risk models and loss forecasting. The objectives associated with these analyses allow questions regarding why there are losses, slicing and dicing portfolio profitability, etc.

STRENGTHS: The primary strengths of Tableau are: it is easy to learn and easy to deploy (no need for servers or implementation consulting), visualization is an integral part of the analysis process - not just the result, and it has the ability to quickly change the analysis via iteration in order to investigate many dimensions of a data set simultaneously.

WEAKNESSES: The primary weakness is that it doesn't directly connect to SAS data. We must extract data from SAS into Excel or CSV before we use Tableau. In addition to the additional manual steps involved, the limitation of Excel or CSV is transferred to Tableau. It largely degraded the power of Tableau.

SELECTION CRITERIA: SAS is the incumbent product. Tableau makes data analysis easier and more insightful through the use of visual analysis. Wells Fargo was seeking improved analysis and reporting tools. Its primary evaluation criteria for the tool were: it had to be visual and easy to learn; it had to be deployable without servers, consultants, and a long implementation cycle; and it had to snap into our existing desktop environment. The benefits realized are better insight into data and better decision-making through Tableau's visual analysis capabilities.

DELIVERABLES: Tableau outputs vivid, well-annotated visual analyses of our data.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Our vendor support from Tableau has been effective. Because the product requires no pre- or post-implementation (it installs in about three minutes), support requirements are minimal. Tableau does offer introductory, intermediate and advanced training.

DOCUMENTATION: All of the documentation is online - easy to access and follow. Because the product is so easy to use, I haven't needed to access the documentation since I installed the product.

Tableau Professional
Tableau Software, Inc.
400 North 34th Street, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 633-3400

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