Ep 24 - Mitchell Grewer - How Cargill Unlocks Data for Everyone

Listen to the Episode

Subscribe to the Podcast

Episode Summary

You have to lower the cost the curiosity. We’ve found more success getting people excited to change, rather than mandating from the top.
— Mitchell Grewer

Self Service Analytics. It’s been a popular topic of discussion in BI and Analytics circles for quite a few years now. The premise is great. Get more data in the hands of more users. Reporting and Analytics tools like Power BI, Tableau, Domo, Alteryx and Qlik have quickly accelerated the trend and made “non-analyst” data usage more possible than ever.

But is it as easy as buying a tool, giving it to your teams and waiting for the magic to happen?


Of course not. Great Self-Service analytics is hard work. Today we’re talking with one of the leaders in developing this approach, Mitchell Grewer.

Mitchell is responsible for self-service analytics at Cargill in Minneapolis, MN. He has built an amazing energy and enthusiasm for using data to drive their business. But his focus isn’t on hiring more data scientists, or implementing gigantic hadoop clusters. His job is to engage with the business, turning all 80,000 employees into data-wielding mini-analysts.

“I want everyone at Cargill to See and Understand Data. Our goal is to empower all employees to leverage the massive amount of data we have to unlock insights and make better decisions.”

It’s been a long, winding journey for Cargill to get this point, and it certainly didn’t happen over night.

“You have to include both top-down approaches for buy-in as well as bottoms-up. They’re both critical. For us, the bottoms-up was what really helped us take off”.

Mitchell started small, built a community, started training people who were interested, and then launched an enterprise “Data Visualization Challenge”. That challenge is what really got things started. Senior leaders saw what the power of data could really do, and suddenly both analysts and executives were on-board.

Check out the podcast for many other great stories of success, failure, and continued evolution of Mitchell’s self service analytics transformation!

More about Mitchell Grewer

Connect on LinkedIn: /in/mitchellgrewer

Mitchell’s company - Cargill

Twin Cities Tableau User Group - Monthly Meetup

Links and References

Favorite Storyteller or Author - Daniel Arenson

Favorite Blog - Dear Data

The Data Able Podcast is made possible by Beyond the Data

We are on a mission to help people like you become a champion in your organization for a more data-informed approach. Data science and analytics is critical, but getting real value requires building a culture that starts with you, is supported by executives, and trickles down to every person in your organization.