2014 Data+ Editors' Choice Awards

Keller Williams Realty

A new BI system and real-time dashboards identify trends in home sales.

2014 Data+ Editors' Choice Awards

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Keller Williams Realty International collects and analyzes transaction data from its 700 franchised offices and 100,000 agents in more than a dozen countries. The data analysis enables the Austin-based company to identify trends and develop insights that help it make informed business decisions. Those insights have been so valuable that the company was able grow during the past five to seven years, even as the real estate market suffered a severe slump, according to Cary Sylvester, vice president of technology innovation and communication.

The Keller Williams big data team: Jason Tang, Cary Sylvester, Wendy Hale and James Elsea. Keller Williams

The Keller Williams big data team: Jason Tang, Cary Sylvester, Wendy Hale and James Elsea.

Keller Williams first implemented a business intelligence system in the late 1990s and migrated to Tableau Software's desktop and server analytics and BI tools in December 2013. At the same time, the company added real-time dashboards that executives use to monitor all transactions in the U.S. and Canada. "You can drill in and get enough comparisons to really see, clearly, where there's a trend," says Danny Thompson, who as executive director of operations uses Tableau to determine the effectiveness of corporate coaching.

James Elsea, a senior BI developer and analyst, says Keller Williams uses Tableau to drive strategy by looking for connections among pieces of data. Like any deployment, implementing Tableau involved challenges. Among other things, the company needed to beef up its servers and improve data quality, he says, emphasizing that it must remain diligent about data standards to ensure that the quality doesn't decline.

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