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From “Gut Feeling” to Data Driven

How one client transformed their decision making process from “Gut Feeling” to Data Driven


This client is a Non-Profit Organization that inspires adults to learn, discover, and travel. Offering thousands of educational adventures in all 50 states and 150 countries around the world, this organization believes that true insight and understanding are still sparked by hands-on experience and open discussions that stimulate the senses, energize the body and challenge the mind.

The Challenge

This client faced a very common problem in the analytics space: Business Intelligence had been put on the “Back Burner” and its effect on the business had diminished throughout that time frame. A once insightful and dependable system had become archaic - leading to an all-time low adoption level from their business decision makers and daily users.  Boasting less than 10 IT personnel to support their entire business – none had been truly dedicated to reporting and analytics. Their challenges were multifaceted and included:

  • Procurement of internal team to support analytics
  • Procurement/upgrade reporting and ETL tools
  • Utilization of tools to work via decision automation applications

“Refine our use of data and analysis to identify opportunities for growth and drive decision-making”


They had been relying on outdated BI environments along with Excel spreadsheets all created and maintained in silos within each business unit. This led to multiple versions of the truth and most of their business decisions to be made based upon “gut” rather than supporting data. They needed a new way of doing this because their current Business Intelligence strategy was:

  • Not Scalable
  • Siloing datasets and in turn leading to multiple versions of the truth
  • Boasting low Adoption rates attributed to poor UI/UX design
  • Outdated with its use of legacy tools
  • Lacking an understanding of analytics within the business.


Client Goals, Needs, and Strategy

This client initially called on Pandera’s Advisory Services team to engage in a management consulting effort revolving around three distinct areas:

  • Analytic team assessment and organizational hierarchy rework
  • Evaluation of leading BI and ETL vendors with the best fit unique to their specific business
  • Consultation of 12-18 month roadmap which would include: reporting, data modeling, training, and support.

After a thorough understanding of the stated goals, Pandera concluded that an enterprise business intelligence platform would be critical


Our Solution

In order to keep client costs down, we recommended keeping their current database architecture intact and going with an open source ETL solution that met their needs. After the recommendation was accepted, Pandera began leading the implementation of the BI tool (Installation and configuration). To kickstart their analytic journey once installation was completed, we created several flexible reporting templates which were easily replicated as part of the long-term report creation process objective. Our training and dissonance teams were engaged in weekly advisory calls with power users and helped them become self-service users, eliminating the reliance on IT resources. We then laid out a 12 month, 40 page document that articulated plans for: training, support, reporting projects, and supporting documentation from installation (among other things).

The Outcome

After a successful installation, the customer had a great foundation to begin accomplishing the stated analytics objectives. As with any new BI tool, self-learning is key. Pandera’s subscription-based training was opened up for several of their users to evolve skillsets and boast a self-service workforce.  We also conducted weekly advisory calls with a large audience to do Q&A, best practices tips on whatever they wanted to discuss that week, and began tackling the high priority data modeling and reporting projects.  These analytics projects included:

  • Enrollment
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Web Traffic
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Pricing
  • Campaigns efficiency
  • Call Center KPI’s

Due to the quick success, adoption was soaring like they’d never seen and new requests for reports and insights were coming in weekly.  To support administration, security, troubleshooting, upgrades, POCs, and Q&A discussions, Pandera’s Managed Services team was then engaged to alleviate some of this work. This allowed our client to spend more time with their business partners to understand their needs and pain points for future projects. Upgrades are still done every other quarter to keep the reporting environment up to date with the newest features and functionality.

Does this sound similar to problems your organization is facing? Do you have general questions about your Business Intelligence infrastructure that you are looking to get answered? Feel free to fill out the form on the right of this page or contact us as it would be our pleasure to offer guidance through these endeavors.

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Re-engineering decision-making environments to mobilize business intelligence and immerse employees in knowledge, producing peak performance and ongoing success.