Red Hat embraces Tableau Blueprint and Tableau Online, deepens data culture with 4,500+ staff in less than a year


Doubled Tableau Online user base to 4,500+ in first year
Integrated 60+ data sources
Nurtured internal community and data leaders

Red Hat, Inc. is the world's leading provider of open source solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize industry-leading operating systems, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments.

Growing at an accelerated rate, Red Hat used a variety of business intelligence tools in isolated situations, but lacked a coordinated approach to their enterprise analytics. With a disconnected data strategy, leaders found it complicated to see the big picture as they made key business decisions. Global staff, particularly data analysts and data engineers, also struggled to make connections among siloed data. They needed an analytics platform that spanned multiple sources, ensured agile performance, and enabled cloud-based collaboration. Red Hat decommissioned several other business intelligence platforms and replaced them with a SaaS solution—Tableau Online, combined with Tableau Blueprint to guide their deployment strategy.

Focusing on the pillars of community and proficiency, Red Hat scaled from 50 Tableau users to more than 4,500 in the first year, doubling adoption expectations in the first three months. By shifting away from multiple tools, associates were better armed with insights to make quick, confident decisions that improved performance and results. They continue to grow engagement opportunities and training, spearheaded by a new role called the Tableau Enablement Lead, part of the Enterprise Data and Analytics team, along with Tableau advocates, referred to as Project Owners, who implement and share dashboard best practices as members of the Red Hat Tableau community.

Creating data-driven processes to support 4,500+ employees, guided by Tableau Blueprint

When Red Hat adopted Tableau, they used Tableau Blueprint to guide their deployment journey. “Blueprint demonstrated to us how Tableau approaches governance to enable speed, and that isn’t something we saw before,” explained Wes Gelpi, Senior Manager of Business Intelligence & Analytics. Blueprint helped analytics leadership set clear expectations and processes for governance, proficiency, collaboration, and more. “Tableau Blueprint enabled us to deploy more effectively and it changed how we think about Tableau going forward,” added Wes.

Building out strategy and teams to grow community and nurture data leaders

The first order of business was building out the right strategy and teams, which included a new organizational model aligning resources to business areas and documenting their enterprise data strategy. By dispersing data leaders across business units, Red Hat could simultaneously deploy an enterprise-wide solution while creating a data culture across the company.

As data leaders, our role is to help shift and transform—to not let up on the gas pedal when it comes to building a data culture. I think it’s our job as data practitioners to influence corporate culture to be more data-driven.

This focus on collaboration has evolved into a focus on internal community, supported through several community engagement activities. First, Red Hat has Project Owners—cross-functional advocates for Tableau adoption who drive consistency across enterprise processes and business reporting. They also spearhead internal chat channels and local meetups, so people can discuss visualizations or provide feedback. The Tableau Enablement Lead focuses on expanding the Red Hat community, tapping into data enthusiasts to lead events, providing training, and offering expertise as an “on call” consultant.

These activities increased the number of employees—both practitioners and leaders— using data to guide decisions to a current total of more than 4,500 Tableau users. A broader self-service model coupled with a focus on enabling the community of users and consumers is expected to drive consistency and grow trust in the information shared and consumed.

Tableau adoption doubles in three months, exceeding expectations and driving cost and time savings

Red Hat’s data sources varied; there were more than 60, including Google Sheets, Excel, and other operations platforms. Together they created noise and made it challenging to uncover critical information. “That’s at the core of what we’re trying to bring; access to information that matters, as soon as possible,” stated Mandy Elliott, Chief of Staff and Strategy.

Migrating workloads to the cloud, they needed a resilient analytics platform that all employees could use, which required little-to-no server maintenance or monitoring. The Enterprise Data and Analytics team was looking to lessen the need to maintain an on-premise deployment because of the staffing, time, and financial resources. As a fully hosted solution, Tableau Online required no server configuration so they didn’t have to manage upgrades and the team can seamlessly add users as they grow.

Tableau Online gives us an opportunity to bring different facets of our organization together. And the ease with which we’ve been able to give that to Red Hatters across the globe and in different functions has helped speed up and create a community groundswell.

The synergy and trust that grew from sharing dashboards on Tableau Online created organic analytics growth and tripled the user base. With data in people’s hands, Red Hat has improved its processes, operations, staffing, and customer service. As Mandy summarized, taking these steps of new skill sets, enhanced processes, and better ways of working together, has started to make an impact on the global organization.

Data proficiency evolves from literacy program

Red Hat is implementing programs to motivate and change how leaders, managers, and associates approach data. Red Hat’s data literacy program combines product training with specialized curriculum and enablement activities to build up skills like critical thinking and basic data knowledge. They even have a specialized track for data champions, who have the added responsibility to change mindsets and encourage data-informed decision making. “These data champions will help lift our data culture at Red Hat,” shared Mandy. This commitment is shaping how people approach data at all levels, functions, and locations.

Tableau use is closely monitored by the Enablement Lead together with the Enterprise Data and Analytics team. They look at data around dashboard usage from different business units and across regions to inform when and how trainings and community activities are offered and aligned to meet user needs. This usage information also sparks conversations around data insights and observations.

Red Hat prioritizes Tableau reporting for leaders

To minimize the time and resources previously spent to manually develop weekly, monthly, and quarterly executive reports, the Enterprise Data and Analytics team facilitated development of key performance dashboards in Tableau to increase performance visibility. But first, they worked closely with business leaders across all functional areas to ensure that meaningful data was included and reported accurately. They held personalized adoption workshops with C-suite executives to understand how they use data to help inform the design and content for the dashboards.

Upon release of the Executive Dashboard, they saw leaders logging in multiple times each week, sometimes nearly a dozen times a week. They saw an increase in trust in the data, which led to more everyday data use in meetings and in individual work.

“Tableau provided our data and analytics professionals an avenue to work together more effectively, and we expect the power of those cross-functional insights will aid us in reaching our business goals,” concluded Mandy.

Tableau is flexible and meets users’ needs, but can also pivot when a user has a question. To me, Tableau is one of the few solutions I’ve observed which enables that at the speed of innovation.