How Vanguard is saving time with Write-Back

 In Blog, Success Cases
  • Write-Back was the solution for eliminating the need to export reports from Tableau to Excel and again to Tableau;
  • How Vanguard was able to save time with Write-Back (around 50-200 hours per dashboard each year).

About Vanguard

Vanguard is one of the world’s most respected investment management companies, offering a broad selection of investments, advice, retirement services, and insights to individual investors, institutions, and financial professionals. Vanguard operates under a unique, investor-owned structure and adheres to a simple purpose: to take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success. Shareholders in Vanguard funds benefit from client focus, experience, stability, and long-term, disciplined investment approach.

The Challenge

As part of Vanguard’s business, it is necessary to ensure process control and monitoring, and what could be the best way to present it to business analysts rather than Tableau. Tableau is excellent for these use cases, specifically to drill down on data, correlate different datasets, and have the ability to search and investigate anomalies within data. Exploration enables business analysts to obtain a concise list of exceptions.

However, for each item, it is necessary to take action and what would happen was that business analysts would have to take the exception report from Tableau and export it to Excel. This process is inefficient, as business analysts deal with a different system, going back and forth between Excel and Tableau. Governance with shared Excel files is also hard to implement, by having multiple business users manipulating Excel sheets merging everything isn’t easy and error-prone.

The Solution

Write-Back was the solution to this problem. It brought up models and role-based exceptions and allowed business analysts to look for new risks. It is more about using models to detect anomalies, finding out what they don’t know, being able to model out what trade looks like for a fund, specific trader or security, and if any of these characteristics don’t match the fund profile. Once found it becomes really easy to provide feedback with an integrated form leveraging Write-Back functionality and doing it straight from the Tableau dashboard.


The main benefit for Vanguard while using Write-Back is how the feedback loop was enhanced. The Tableau dashboard on top of the model output provides a more user-friendly way to investigate anomalies which can then be easily categorized and have a qualitative analysis by adding comments.

Another benefit for Vanguard was to save time with Write-Back. By enabling users to do their job within the Tableau environment and the provided dashboard, it has enabled time savings for the team.

For the dashboards that Vanguard has been implementing the Write-Back feature, they will see around 50-200 hours of time savings per dashboard each year for their analysts, depending on the frequency of the review and amount of data being analyzed. Vanguard has 15 dashboards initially identified, and with Write-Back in house and set up, each additional dashboard will only take a few hours to implement, so in the future that benefit can be even greater.