Executives at Randall-Reilly, which helps companies finance large capital purchases, knew they had data that could yield valuable sales insights, but they also recognized that they had problems accessing that data because it was trapped inside spreadsheets.
"The number of people we could sell to [was limited]," says James Vogel, vice president of business analytics at the Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based company. "We could only sell to big companies who could take spreadsheets and put them into their systems, because they were the only ones who had data scientists."
To expand its reach, Randall-Reilly had to move beyond spreadsheets -- and did so following its 2012 purchase of Sisense, a business intelligence and analytics software company.
Using its newly acquired software, Randall-Reilly built on its existing data systems to create analytics tools for internal use, and for its customers, says vice president of technology Sonny Rivera.
Randall-Reilly pulls data from numerous public, private and proprietary sources, Rivera says. Customers use the company's analytics tools, such as its RigDig BI product, to identify and target potential customers of their own.
Vogel says he had been using spreadsheets but now uses the analytics platform internally to evaluate product usage to help develop and promote services that customers want.
"We can track what our users are doing and see how much value they are getting out of the product," Vogel says. That insight, he adds, helps drive new features and pricing.