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Foreign exchange company Moneycorp has replaced its legacy business intelligence model with Tableau to better use big data in its agile environment.

Foreign exchange company Moneycorp has replaced its legacy business intelligence model with Tableau to better use big data in its agile environment.

Moneycorp provides travel money bureaus and ATM machines across major UK airports as well as pre-paid credit cards and international transfer services. It recently acquired Thomas Cook and the Post Office's international payment businesses.

The company had been building an in-house data analytics system that was growing increasingly complex, before adopting Tableau in 2013.

"Before Tableau we spent two years building a suite of management information (MI) reporting. It had multiple layers and it would take all of the source data from all the different parts of Moneycorp whether it be the corporate business, the private business, our old online system or the wholesale business. We were trying to bring that together into one layer with extract, transform, Load (ETL), staging layers and data cubes,” Moneycorp CTO Henry McKeon told ComputerworldUK.

“It was pretty hard to change. We really got to a point when the business were asking us questions we couldn’t answer quick enough. We needed a simpler model and we were lacking visualisations. SQL server reporting service (SSRS) reports don’t talk to you visually.”

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Using Tableau, Moneycorp has been able to produce charts and graphs that allow the business to spot trends in customer trading patterns, which can be used for its loyalty card scheme, rewarding loyal customers and translating into cash return.

“When I saw this, after being used to Excel, I almost fell off my chair,” McKeon said.

Moneycorp can also track which ATMs in airports are used the most, allowing for better placement strategy and provisioning for the service availability.

Agile approach

With Tableau, Moneycorp built a new analytics model based on SQL Server 2012 and SSIS for ETL. It still had a staging layer but it was “much simpler with less levels”. The company used an agile approach, developing on a two-week cycle so that the new data analytics model was easier to flex and changed quickly to adjust.

The company built the model within three months, originally purchasing five Tableau desktop licenses, which the executives took to straight away, McKeon said. It bought 55 Tableau server licenses in April.

Shareholders

In May, the company began sharing easy-to-digest information with its shareholders, one being the Post Office, which it acquired the international payments business from last year. McKeon said that the business hopes to give more of its partners insight into the Moneycorp business in the future, but it has to work on making the business case.