DePauw University used Tableau to develop this cluster analysis of student home towns. Chockstone maps loyalty card penetration and usage patterns by location.
"Color coding comes in handy because we can use it to find out where we have friendly managers who might oversee stores that have yet to adopt our program," O'Brien explains.
Corporate, regional and local executives representing chains want to see proof that the programs are paying off, so O'Brien develops location-specific analyses.
"One of the things we're trying to do is tie loyalty card penetration to a higher-than-average year-over-year sales lift," he explains. "So I might color code sales by loyalty program penetration or by which stores ran the most promotions."
The community of report consumers includes field-level managers who typically aren't trained on conventional BI tools, so O'Brien says visualizations are the right choice for delivering easy-to-understand analyses. A few internal constituents use the free downloadable Tableau Reader to interact with data, but visualizations are generally shared as static images embedded in PowerPoint presentations.
"If you can throw a well-done, accurate map into the presentation, it adds a sizzle factor and reinforces the impression of professionalism," O'Brien says.
Chockstone has approximately 40 employees and it purchased two authoring seats of Tableau Desktop. O'Brien focuses on preparing the backend data extracts from MySQL and the core analyses, which are handed off to a business analyst who creates customer- and market-specific reports. "I'm essentially creating a template that lets me offload some of the work," he says. "All our business analyst has to do is duplicate the template and change the filters for each market."
Chockstone may have the footprint of a small enterprise, but it was acquired in late 2008 by $1.5 billion credit card transaction giant Heartland Payment Systems. The plan is to introduce the loyalty marketing unit to Heartland's thousands of payment customers.