As part of our “They’re doing data” feature, Pierre Barbier, Country Manager France at Tableau agreed to review the past year and the major industry and marketing issues of the beginning of the year.
What is your view on the year that has just passed?
It’s a year where I’ve seen the topic of data become more and more important. Simply because digital has become more and more important. When I talk to French executives, half of them explain that data is a key element in their discussions and in their decision making. The reason is that digital has taken on a huge importance, especially in sales, and as a result, someone who doesn’t have a sharp eye for it is losing customers without even realizing it. In general, executives want to improve the data culture within their company and bring it outside a circle of specialists.
How are companies behaving towards data now?
For several years, companies have been hiring specialists, data scientists who have pre-empted the use of data. Today, we realize that data is better exploited when it is close to the business and when it is understood by all the employees of a company. Data is now used by all the business lines. And we can see that CIOs have been given a new role: providing technologies that enable a deeper understanding of the data. Today, it is therefore necessary to establish data governance within the company in order to give the various business lines the ability to dig into the data.
What trends are you seeing emerging?
For the past few years, we’ve been talking about data visualization. This has evolved a lot. Previously, static reports were provided, but today, it is more a question of making technologies and data available in order to go beyond the simple observation and really understand a problem.
Are we able to know the impact of this availability of information and data on the business?
I can give you some examples. For example, Monoprix, which works with us, wanted to increase the skills of its employees in understanding data in order to be able to anticipate a problem called the “empty shelf syndrome” which is fundamental in retail. In this case, Monoprix set up a governance system that allowed the supply chain employees to anticipate this problem. They succeeded and deployed this data culture within the supply chain.
As another example, the Accor hotel chain gave its employees the ability to create their own dashboards to access and view data that was important to them. This is particularly relevant because the business knows exactly what data can be useful to them. Today, employees are able to provide reports in 2 hours when before it took them 10 days.
What are the big issues for Tableau at the start of the year?
Among our major challenges, we want to continue to get as many people as possible to collaborate around data. I think it is necessary to decompartmentalize data. In this respect, we have announced that we will make data available through Slack thanks to Ask Data. This way, everyone will be able to question the data in a natural language and get an answer directly in Slack. Another major issue is prediction. We are no longer in a static domain, and it is therefore necessary to be able to give everyone the ability to create dashboards, and then to call on artificial intelligence, notably thanks to Einstein Delivery, which is now integrated into Tableau.
One word to define the year ahead?
Acceleration. I want to see acceleration of efforts to democratize data literacy in the enterprise and beyond. Tableau has invested in this topic and made commitments to train 10 million data specialists within 5 years by partnering with schools and universities in France and elsewhere. For example, Tableau is setting up training courses with EDHEC, Sorbonne University and Paris School of Business. We also provide licenses and online certifications on the Salesforce training site. The goal is to make data understandable and accessible to as many people as possible.
Interview by Amandine Durand