When FREE NOW was first founded as mytaxi in Hamburg, Germany in 2009, the local nature of operations meant that data-based decision making was relatively simple. However, as the company rapidly expanded its operations across Europe over the next five years, stemming from an acquisition by Daimler Mobility Services GmbH in 2014, data and personnel became increasingly fragmented.
“Decision makers were no longer in one room and local data silos were springing up everywhere, making everything much harder to control and coordinate,” says Andrew Emmett, Head of Analytics at FREE NOW. “The bigger the company got, the lower the alignment across departments was becoming and the harder it was to make fast, accurate, business decisions.”
This rapid growth was also causing problems with the company’s underlying data infrastructure, which was unable to keep up with the pace of expansion. So in 2015, the company conducted a significant infrastructure overhaul, replacing its existing monolithic system with a 100 percent cloud-based system, underpinned by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Tableau was then implemented as the sole data analytics layer, creating a single source of truth for the whole company to work from.
“Straight away, we had a new level of scalability and control throughout our operations that simply wasn’t there before,” says Andrew. “With a fully flexible system based in AWS, we can handle seasonal spikes in demand and the resulting data processing much more easily. Tableau then integrates seamlessly into this, ensuring everyone in the company can see and work from the exact same data sets, no matter where they are geographically.”
Tableau’s intuitive interface also makes complex data easier to understand, analyse and visualise, even with only basic training. As more and more employees realise they can now self-serve their own data analytics needs, usage throughout the company has increased dramatically. In the last five years, the number of Tableau users has grown by over 2000%, from 15 (around 10% of the workforce) in 2014, to over 400 today (more than 50% of the workforce).
“We have Tableau users in nearly every department now, where it has quickly become an invaluable tool for fast self-service analytics,” says Andrew. “Uses range from customer engagement monitoring in our product teams, to KPI and budget tracking in our finance team and campaign performance assessment in marketing.”