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Tableau Software [NYSE:DATA]: Insurance Analytics Made Easy

Adam Selipsky, President & CEO, Tableau SoftwareAdam Selipsky, President & CEO As the largest personal lines property and casualty insurer, Allstate Corporation carries out a lot of geographical analysis across different states to get insights from a claims perspective to discern out-of-pattern trends and the population driving them. Typically, it would take one full day for investigators to analyze a single state causing delays in identifying the patterns. With Tableau Software [NYSE:DATA], the insurance giant is able to analyze the trends of all states in a day and dig deeper into data behind any out-of-pattern trends. All this data is represented through visual graphs, as opposed to numbers in rows and columns, making it even more clear and transparent for investigations. This is just one of Tableau’s extra ordinary performances that make it more easier to see the trends and the power of data.

Aimed at transforming the way people use data to solve problems, the company enables businesses to analyze data as they visualize in a single platform. Tableau’s solutions combine visual analysis with the power of data science to transform data from an underutilized asset to a competitive advantage. Following the ideology of ‘what you see is what you understand,’ the solutions can be used by anyone and everyone without having to learn technical coding and jargons.

Tableau was incorporated when a brilliant computer scientist, Chris Stolte, an academy-award winning professor, Pat Hanrahan, and a savvy business leader, Christian Chabot came together to solve one of the most basic yet challenging problems—making data understandable to ordinary people. The breakthrough arose when they brought together two computer science disciplines for the first time: computer graphics and databases. Together, they combined a structured query language for databases with a descriptive language for rendering graphics and invented a database visualization language called VizQL (Visual Query Language). VizQL was a revolutionary technology that completely changed the way people work with data by allowing simple drag and drop functions to create sophisticated visualizations. “The company is positioned to become the new world standard in analytics,” says Adam Selipsky, president and CEO at Tableau.

VizQL: The Fundamental Innovation

Based on the breakthrough technology—VizQL—the company has built Tableau Desktop that enables clients to connect to data, visualize and then create interactive dashboards all with a few clicks.


As we add capabilities for our customers, deepen our enterprise presence, and expand into the cloud, our mission remains unchanged— to help people see and understand their data


Using simple drag and drop reference lines and forecasts, clients can quickly build powerful calculations from existing data and review statistical summaries. Using trend analyses, regressions, and correlations for true statistical understanding, clients can ask new questions, spot trends, identify opportunities, and make data-driven decisions with confidence. Tableau Desktop can seamlessly connect to data on-premise or in the cloud— whether it’s big data, a SQL database, a spreadsheet, or cloud apps like Google Analytics and Salesforce. Based on client’s preferred data sources, analysis begins.

Further, enterprises can design, customize, and publish optimized dashboards for desktop, tablet, and phone through Tableau’s Device designer tool. Worksheets, actions, and formatting are shared across device layouts and the default dashboard. This creates a single dashboard that’s optimized for viewing across devices. Since each device layout can have its own sizing behaviors, clients can control the worksheets that are displayed as well as their respective sizes.

Once users publish dashboards with Tableau Desktop, they can securely share them throughout the organization using Tableau Server or Tableau Online. Tableau Server is browser- and mobile-based insight anyone can use. Whether data is on-premise or in the cloud, Tableau Server gives the flexibility to integrate into existing data infrastructure. Businesses can guarantee themselves the freedom to explore data in a secure environment—without limiting to pre-defined questions, wizards, or chart types. Businesses get the ability to centrally manage all metadata and security rules while gaining visibility into usage to optimize their environment. Likewise, Tableau Online is an analytics platform fully hosted in the cloud. The platform eliminates the time and cost spent on hardware setup while giving complete flexibility to add users instantaneously. This way users need not configure servers, manage software upgrades, or scale hardware capacity.

When it comes to the insurance world, every transaction is a data point ripe for analysis and action. Tableau brings the power of analytics to the hands of various employees in an insurance company from the sales leader trying to fill the pipeline to the product manager seeking to out-innovate the competition to the investigator identifying fraud patterns. Tableau makes it possible to explore complex datasets in real time and react to change faster.

High-performing Analytics Database

In keeping with the theme of visual analysis, Tableau created Data Engine, a high-performing analytics database on the client’s PC. The database gives the ability to do an ad-hoc analysis of millions of rows of data within seconds. The Data Engine is a break-through analytics database designed to overcome the limitations of existing databases and data silos and to truly support the process of visual analysis. It has the speed benefits of traditional in-memory solutions without the limitations of placing the data in memory. Clients can use the data engine without any custom scripting, which makes it easily accessible. Businesses can seamlessly integrate the data engine with existing corporate data warehouses and infrastructure to support the process of visual analysis. It is created with a query language and query optimizer designed to support the queries typical of on-the-fly business analytics. The Data Engine is unique in that once the data is loaded into the data engine, it only reads the data relating to the queries.

"The company is positioned to become the new world standard in analytics"

Defining New Heights

Tableau is preparing for new innovations in its product line through a number of partnerships that will bring more value to its current stature. With the recent partnership with ClearGraph, a company enabling smart data discovery and data analysis through natural language query technology, Tableau plans to integrate ClearGraph’s technology into its product portfolio. This will make it even easier for more businesses to interact with their data by using natural language to ask questions and search for insights. Another target in Tableau’s to do list is a new data engine based on the in-memory store that Tableau obtained through its acquisition of German startup HyPer. Tableau is also planning to introduce artificial intelligence features alongside the engine to streamline dashboarding activities even further. The main highlight is an “instant analytics” capability that will automatically display various contextual details as users interact with their data.

Furthermore, the company is set to introduce a data preparation tool—Project Maestro—that is designed to speed up the time-consuming preliminary work involved in creating visualizations. The tool will let analysts merge information from multiple sources, cleanse them and transform it into a workable form all through a graphical interface for analysis. Keeping the futuristic goals in mind, the CEO emphatically states: “As we add capabilities for our customers, deepen our enterprise presence, and expand into the cloud, our mission remains unchanged—to help people see and understand their data.”

- Khyati Dubal
    November 16, 2017