Doug Stockham, President of the Emergency Assistance Foundation, was able to keep up with a rising analytics demand by leveraging Zuar's end-to-end, NetSuite + Tableau solution. In two weeks, his business went from manual, static reporting to fully automated, embedded analytics. Here is his story...
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Emergency Assistance Foundation (EAF)
EAF helps large corporations around the world make emergency hardship grants for their employees in preparation for unexpected and unavoidable financial hardships or disasters. With nearly 150 fund partners, EAF was receiving an average of 200 donation applications a month. Their typical process was to receive a spike of applications followed by a lull. During the lull, the team would process most applications in preparation for the next spike. By the end of the month, EAF had 15 days to send out a static report to their partners (organizations, corporations, and universities).
2017 was a exceptional year for natural disasters. From August - September, 13 disasters were reported around the globe (including the well known hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria). This caused a monumental spike in applications sent to EAF...
We went from 200 credit applications a month to 2,000 a month. It took us five months before we actually started slowing down. We just could not keep up, date wise... - Doug Stockham, President, EAF
Data Collection Methods
Due to the increase demand and difficulty handling the amount of applications, EAF needed a way to track their applications. Doug reached out to a few partners who helped him get up and running with Oracle's NetSuite ERP cloud solution. NetSuite allowed EAF to track incidents, applications, and finances. Once NetSuite was up and running, Doug realized that he needed a way to quickly see and analyze the data that was flowing into NetSuite. Soon after tasking his team with obtaining insights from NetSuite, they realized that the level of reporting they required was impossible with their current reporting tools.
They [partners] were asking us questions. Our information was static and it was always behind. I really wanted real time data, so in times of disaster, they could see how many people are applying. - Doug Stockham, President, EAF
In order for EAF to begin analyzing their application and financial data, they needed:
- A way to extract all of it from NetSuite.
- A place to store the extracted data.
- A method to transform their data so that it could used for analysis.
- A way to automate the entire process.
They found all of this in Zuar's data staging platform, Mitto. With Mitto's NetSuite integration, they were able to create an automated data pipeline the moved data from NetSuite to Mitto's built in PostgreSQL cloud database. They were then able to use Mitto's sequential job runner to transform the data with custom SQL. They then set everything on a schedule so that the entire pipeline could run automatically.
Analyze, Visualize, and Embedding NetSuite Data
Now that EAF had an automated data pipeline with curated data models, it was time to analyze, visualize, and share their insights with internal business units and external stakeholders, corporations, and universities. Doug selected Tableau to be their Business Intelligence platform. Being new to Tableau and lacking the internal resources, EAF needed someone with the expertise to help with analysis and visualization. EAF was able to leverage Zuar's Tableau consulting team.
Visual Analytics and Presentation
After a series of dashboards were built by the Zuar team, it was time to share these insights with partners and donors. The dashboards were embedded into EAF's partner solution and partners were granted access to real time reporting.
There are a handful of benefits that EAF has realized since implementation of their visual analytics solution. Some of those benefits include:
- Real time reporting of high level numbers embedded into a partner portal so that they have access to stats related to number of registrants, applications, and approval rates.
- Partner access to grant requests
- Improved internal communication between partners and their donors.
- Visibility into locations of natural disasters, how that relates to the location of employees, and where the money is being utilized.
- Improved data literacy across EAF and partners, which has also helped partners communicate with their employees and donors.
- Saving time and resources for EAF employees due to the ease and automation of their reporting process.
- Ability to integrate multiple sources of data for advanced analysis
The pipeline and visuals created for EAF has started to gain popularity across the industry and is now becoming an industry standard. After partners were able to see the power of EAF's BI solution, they began adopting many of the same standards.
Internal Data Resources
One surprising outcome for EAF was the ability to not only provide analytics to their partners and donors, but also for internal teams. EAF has a suite of dashboards that display KPIs like:
- Application response time
- Amount of applications and average time to review an application by specific reviewers
- Donation amounts vs. budget amounts
- Grant amounts vs. budget amounts
- Percentage of awarded applications by day, week, month, year
- Application rate vs. percentage of employees applying within an organization
- Cross slicing registrations across industries and company sizes to create averages
We pretty much have every KPI you can imagine and we go through them every Monday morning with the entire team so that people know where they fit. - Doug Stockham, President, EAF
All of these KPIs allow EAF to set goals for the company. They have also allowed EAF to clean up their data entry process as they have started using Tableau to verify their numbers.
EAF now has an automated, end-to-end visual analytics solution that has improved many aspects of their business. EAF has built a Data Value Chain, allowing them to answer business questions and solve business problems quickly. They have created an automated data pipeline that:
- Connects to NetSuite
- Pipes data from NetSuite to Mitto's PostgreSQL database
- Runs SQL transformations on the data to model it for analytics
- Integrates NetSuite data with other data sources
- Automates the data flow on a schedule
- Analyzes and visualizes the data in Tableau
- Embeds the insights to be shared with partners, donors, and internal business units.
EAF plans to share their solution at the first ever industry conference!