Combining Tableau, Azure, and Hortonworks: Insurance Firm Unlocks the Power of Cloud Analytics

Running Tableau on Azure - a Match Made in the Cloud

Written By // Rob Wellen

Insurance firm
500
Chicago, IL

Identifying a clear path to transition from Tableau on-premises to Tableau in the cloud.

To quickly and securely access data in the cloud with Microsoft Azure, while maintaining the familiarity of the toolsets and user experience they’d come to know in Tableau.

For this midsize insurance firm, moving data analytics in Tableau from on-premises to the cloud proved to be a key business differentiator that not only enhanced marketing effectiveness but fostered a culture of data-driven decision-making where innovation is not only possible but imminent.

The Time for Cloud Analytics Has Arrived

Prior to engaging with SWC, the insurance firm was using Tableau on-premises to help see and understand their data. The rich visual dashboards and intuitive user experience was something the digital marketing team had come to depend on to inform decisions and improve marketing effectiveness. However, as the number of data sources had increased over the years and new innovative data-analytics technologies had emerged in the cloud, the company knew the time had come to make their move to maintain a competitive footing in today’s data-driven marketplace.

Moving from On-Premises Analytics to Cloud Analytics

For years, the company had been hearing about the benefits of the advanced analytics. They knew, with the latest advancements in cloud technology, these benefits were now well within their reach:

  • Cost-effective: Only pay for the resources you use
  • Consolidation: Easily consolidate information from a wide range of data sources – most of which are already collected in the cloud
  • Scalability: Scale up or down operations and data storage as the needs of the business change
  • Speed and Agility: High-powered resources that can deliver queries and reports in real-time
  • Accessibility: Access analytics from anywhere, on any device, and share insights across the entire organization with ease
  • Enhanced security: Cloud analytics is reportedly more reliable than on-premises systems.
  • It’s the future: The cloud is where tomorrow’s technologies will be built. Companies with infrastructure and software in the cloud can more readily embrace the next innovations to come.

Cloud Analytics: Where to Begin?

The goal of the organization was to create a digital marketing analytics platform that connected their disparate data sources – such as Google Analytics, Mix Panel, and Salesforce. And because they were dealing with such large volumes of data, there are many things to consider in terms of resiliency, backup and recovery of systems, and scalability.

Another challenge was acquiring the skills needed to move their analytics goals forward. Like most midsize organizations, they did not have the internal data scientist and data analyst specialized skills to cover the wide range of potential risks and impact the migration would have.

The company had already established Tableau as their data analytics software of choice and they recognized that Microsoft Azure could give them the flexibility, cost-savings, and high-performance they needed to create new solutions at scale.

Using Tableau with Microsoft Azure

As a strategic partner for both Tableau and Microsoft, SWC was uniquely positioned to guide the organization through the design and implementation of Tableau server functionality on Microsoft Azure. Not only was this integration possible, but encouraged!

Over the past several years, Microsoft and Tableau have teamed up to develop an integrated business solution that gives customers the best of both worlds – a data analytics visualization dashboard they already know and love, on a cloud platform that has the modern capabilities, such as security, high-availability, backup and recovery, and more to drive their analytics forward.

This integration proved to be a comprehensive business intelligence pairing that would allow the insurance firm to implement quickly, secure access easily, and begin leveraging data analytics in the cloud while maintaining the familiar tools and user experience they had spent years developing in Tableau.

A Match Made in the Cloud

The solution was designed to configure all the necessary components so the company could focus on data ingestion, management, analytics, and insights.

Hortonworks data platform was used to enable Big Data, which was then connected to Microsoft Azure to close the loop.

Thanks to integrations between Tableau and Microsoft, SWC’s cloud, and data analytics architects were able to easily connect Microsoft Azure Data Warehouse with Tableau. Azure offers connectors for a wide variety of applications, and Tableau plugs into these data sources easily. This integration enabled the organization to make a smooth transition to cloud analytics and begin analyzing mountains of data from anywhere, in real-time.

In the Cloud, The Possibilities Are Endless

Today, the insurance firm is extracting answers from their data in minutes, not months, while securing data and analytics to ensure only the right people have access to the right content.

With Azure Virtual Machines, the organization is deploying their data at scale in Tableau, empowering their users to see, understand, and share data more effectively so they can fully realize the investments in Azure and the Microsoft Data Platform.

While the initial engagement centered around improving marketing effectiveness through advanced analytics, the outcome of the project proved to be much greater. With Tableau now running on modern cloud infrastructure, the organization is excited about the future and exploring entirely new forms of decision-making through machine learning and artificial intelligence. Working in collaboration with SWC, the organization is well on their way to building a culture of data-driven decision-making where the possibilities are endless.

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