Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
I still have a job. We didn’t do any ROIs. Our business has improved, growing about 20 percent every year, which is significant. We attribute that continued growth to our systems. I think DataSelf contributes to that.
Can you please assess Tableau as a platform?
If Tableau could fully replicate on their web client what they have on the desktop client, you can get some real power. The desktop client is expensive, and I don’t want to deploy 50 to 150 of those out to the company when I can deploy 50 to 150 of the Web clients. For me, it's hard to determine whether the user wants to see data or manipulate data. When you start manipulating data, you need the desktop client. In all the demos, they show you the Web, which is easy to use. If you need some heavy lifting with the data, you need the full-blown client. For me, that was the only real frustration, figuring out what my users needed. With ProClarity, they were used to a single platform; the downside was that there was no Web client. They were able to see one version.
Is there anything unique about them that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
DataSelf is clearly a small shop, but I think they love the product. They take it very personally. If I have a problem, the founder and principal of the company will jump on my server on a Saturday morning and fix it remotely himself. He has taken care of SQL tables at 10 o'clock on a Saturday night. I remember watching the Olympics opening ceremony, and I had my computer up, and he was logged in, fixing something for us. Their value added is that they are flexible, and they care enough that they want to see the product succeed for you.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?
I would have had tried to get them to come onsite a while ago to show them our processes. That way, they could be more partners in what we're trying to accomplish as a business, rather than doing everything remotely, through email. Sometimes, it's lost in the data, when they’re trying to make tables match up, they don’t really know what that means or what the user cares about.
The downside is, they’re a small company, and if they have a bad week with a lot of customers and things going on, you have to be very clear about how big your problem is so they can prioritize it. I don’t know how many customers they have, but if they have a lot of customers, I can see how that can be a problem.