Volta’s business experts were having trouble getting the insights they needed. The problem wasn’t lack of data — the problem is never lack of data. The problem was disconnected data and tools that weren’t designed for business users to build the analysis they need.
Volta Charging operates the largest free electric car charging network in the United States. Charging stations are conveniently located at high-traffic retail centers, helping promote electric car usage while also providing brands with a media platform to deliver their message directly to consumers.
Data from their charging stations is constantly streaming in. “I knew we had a data gold mine, but there was no practical way to take all the material in,” says Mia Yamauchi, Marketing Manager at Volta.
A lot of the data reporting was built by hand in Excel or Google Sheets. Business experts needed a tool that was familiar and flexible enough that they could quickly answer unique questions. They needed very specific reports that couldn’t easily be captured in dashboards. Excel bases analysis meant working only with data extracts, and only ever a small portion of the data. In short, data was trapped behind multiple barriers. They needed better self-service.
Once they implemented Sigma, the results were irrefutable.
Improved client presentations
Data that proves Volta’s charging stations drive foot traffic is a powerful sales tool. Retailers were worried that Volta’s free charging stations would monopolize parking without increasing foot traffic to their stores. Now, it’s easy to show that the worries are baseless.
“We can show that dwell time at the stations correlates with increased retail foot traffic, or how many people with electric vehicles are choosing to stop at a grocery store with a Volta charging station rather than any other grocery store along their commute,” say Yamauchi. Presentations can show data directly related to the retailer they are talking to, helping get better results.
More time in the week
Moving away from Excel reports that have to be rebuilt regularly saves time. Unlike a static Dashboard, Sigma still allows for flexibility. When there is new data to pull in or other changes to a report, the business experts who built and consume the report can tweak it without intervention from the data team.
“Building these resources in Sigma is the equivalent of a new part-time employee in terms of work capacity.,” says Yamauchi.
Serendipitous data discoveries
One of the harder to quantify benefits of data access is the knowledge that comes from data exploration. According to a ResearchScape study commissioned by Sigma, 69% of people have stumbled onto an insight from exploring data.
The benefits of exploration are being felt at Volta. “In the past, taking time to answer questions might have meant creating nested joins for a bunch of tables—worth the time only if I knew what I was looking for,” Yamauchi says. “Now with Sigma, I can just dive right in and start exploring our data. I know I’ll end up with something interesting and useful, even if it wasn’t what I was originally expecting.”
You never know what you’ll stumble onto until you have the access to explore.
With more and more data flowing into warehouses every day, opening up access is the only way to have analysis keep up. Business experts are close to the data: creating a self-service culture lets them use that knowledge to build analysis and make better decisions.
“Sigma makes my data-driven decisions more accurate and timely,” says Yamauchi. “And at a personal level, being able to converse with my data makes my job more fun.”