Use Case: Data Prep and Blend
Nippon Caterpillar’s business mainly consists of four units: new and used construction vehicle sales, rentals, and maintenance service. The company serves large and small customers across a broad range of industries from construction to agriculture, snow removal, and more. Their biggest challenge is how to organize the data managed by each business unit. When collecting data in the past, the marketing department requested that a person from each unit provide it in Excel files. Now, Nippon Caterpillar uses Alteryx to bring data from Salesforce, or data in CSV or Excel format, then analyzes and visualizes it in Tableau, allowing them to streamline their information analysis operations.
According to Mr. Michihiko Yaguchi, group manager in the business development department, “the company has hundreds of thousands of customer data points, but there are not enough sales staff. To provide efficient and accurate support, we need to gather information from the four business units, conduct cross-sectional analyses, and provide feedback on optimized findings and insights.”
The biggest issue is how to organize the information managed by each division. Mr. Hiroshi Iwata, chief of the marketing department’s data management group, says, “the input method is different from person to person, and sometimes unnecessary information gets mixed in. As the data become enormous, it takes a lot of time to put them together manually. While the aggregated data could be made visual using BI tools such as Tableau, our major problem was how to get there.”
Mr. Yaguchi also closely watches changes in customer information gathering and purchasing activities. He would like to analyze customer behavior on the Web to create a “customer journey” to better support sales activities. However, the current method of collecting data does not allow them to track the purchase behavior of customers.
“In addition to ETL functions that collect, transform, process, and connect data, we needed a tool that can perform analytics in an integrated way. There were advanced solutions available but they were too expensive, and we wanted to find a more efficient and easier-to-use software,” said Mr. Yaguchi. When he heard a story about Alteryx at a Tableau’s user networking event, he knew that “this is the ideal tool.” Mr. Yaguchi contacted Classmethod, which had been actively dealing with Alteryx since an early stage, and started a trial. At the beginning, he distributed it to the marketing staff and had them try the new analytics method to improve the efficiency of current operations.
Now, Nippon Caterpillar uses Alteryx to import data from Salesforce, easily using API calls, and data in CSV or Excel files. Then, they analyze the data and visualize it with Tableau in order to streamline information analysis operations.
“I am also in charge of collecting and organizing customer information for inside sales. Now, even though the files are in different formats, it is easy to extract and organize only the necessary data. One of the greatest benefits of Alteryx is that it gives us the power for advanced AI and analysis as well as simple data aggregation. I no longer want to go back to the previous environment,” said Mr. Iwata.
Furthermore, as an advanced way to use Alteryx, we have started to create predictive models based on machine learning methods, such as failure and demand prediction. We are also preparing to analyze contact information via the Web in order to provide insights to the sales department prior to business negotiations. Mr. Yaguchi’s present goal is to implement more advanced digital marketing.
Recently our employees’ interest in new technologies such as AI and IoT has been growing. As one of its biggest impacts, Alteryx has made it possible for us to achieve what has never been thought possible before. We would like to offer a wide range of support services, such as the proposal of a comprehensive analysis base and the dissemination of information on advanced usage methods
The biggest benefit of Alteryx was its ease of use. There is no need to write complicated SQL statements, and you can create ETL processing flow simply by working with icons by drag-and-drop in GUI environment. A lot of machine learning tools for advanced analytics are also available, as well as API for collecting information from Salesforce to be used for customer and opportunity management.
It was also important that Alteryx can execute most of what Excel can do. Alteryx help us share the workflow of processes because Excel’s functions and macros were actually becoming like black boxes, making them difficult to reproduce or process. Another benefit was that Alteryx was available for implementation at a much lower cost compared to other companies’ existing solutions.
“Above all, the level of acceleration in our work process is incredible. We often deal with huge data sets that take such a long time to process with Excel. Before, even when working on a small task, I rarely had enough time to take a break. Now, when I put together data analyses and reports at the request of our top management, it only takes a few days to finish what used to take two or three weeks. Although it was a short-term trial, I felt that I just can’t return to the previous environment,” said Mr. Hiromasa Gassyou of Digital Strategy Group, Business Promotion Department.