Many describe their time studying abroad as one of the best decisions they’ve ever made, an experience of a lifetime. ESL Education, one of Europe’s leading international education providers, helps foster immersive learning experiences in more than 40 countries, across five continents.

Since their beginning in 1996 in Switzerland, the company has expanded their reach and now operates from close to 50 offices worldwide. Over 250 ESL Education agents work to tailor the perfect program for students and serve as the liaison between partner schools and clients.

With an expanding base of international clients, ESL education wanted to perform more sophisticated and sector-specific analysis. For example, they wanted to learn which cities were most popular with French or Swiss customers or more about what was trending office-by-office—insights that would enable the ESL Education team to serve local markets better.

The limits of a ‘homemade’ system
Prior to 2014, ESL Education didn’t have a business intelligence (BI) platform that allowed for this desired level of insight. When Clément Duay, Assistant Product Director and Business Analyst, first started at ESL Education, his main focus was to get a handle on the organization’s IT structure and to find and implement a BI platform for the company’s internal business analysts.

“The analytical tools that had been developed internally were static,” Clément explained. “For example, to add an extra column for a percentage increase to an existing reporting table required a request for internal development. Also, navigation was complex or required exporting the data into Excel to get the job done. And without the ability to perform advanced analysis, business users felt discouraged and were deterred from using our analytical tools.”

Clément wanted a solution that was modern and that would allow him to avoid connectivity issues often faced with traditional on-premise solutions, and that would bypass the need to construct a data warehouse. That’s when he found BIME, back in 2014. He selected BIME to help connect the company’s data sources, including its CRM, accounting system, CSM, and its in-house tools to holistically understand their international customers. And from a user perspective, he appreciated that BIME would allow analysts to mix data from different sources on the fly, and to get answers to their questions as quickly as possible.

BIME trial, a proof of concept
A no-commitment trial period with access to 100 percent of BIME by Zendesk’s functionality allowed for a straightforward proof of concept. With BIME’s easy installation, it took only a few hours, rather than months, for Clément to perform his first analyses. While Clément shares that he “didn’t quite know what we were getting into,” BIME’s cloud pricing model, payment flexibility, and online support made the decision to adopt the tool an easy one.

“We chose BIME because it gave us the freedom to mix data from multiple sources, for the ease of use and a great user experience, and the ability to visualize complex data sets without needing advanced data or technical skills. Another reason was the independence from our IT department for the launch and for monitoring the software,” Clément shared. For ESL Education, BIME was the perfect blend of robust technology with simple, easy usability.

Analytic capabilities that prove themselves
Today, the analysis undertaken by the team includes CRM reporting, customer profiling, and financial reporting of their courses. With the BIME Scheduler, teams across the business can access and consume data easily and more regularly. The Finance department now sees more results thanks to pre-aggregation and BIME’s ability to extract data. And ESL Education’s community manager now uses BIME to analyze user engagement by connecting BIME to Facebook and Twitter and to measure advertising campaign effectiveness by connecting all their Adwords accounts.

Slowly but surely, use of BIME has spread from one department to another. More teams are becoming consumers and analysts of data. “As more teams started using BIME, they quickly saw its potential and how they could tap into data for their job,” Clément said. “We got more and more requests around analytics needs. And we don’t complain because we see that as a good thing!”

What’s been especially impactful is the depth of analysis users can now perform. “Previously, we stopped the analysis after the query,” Clément explained. “Now we can dive deeper into our analysis. We can move beyond just an overview and get into the nuts and bolts of each data set. The ability to do such analysis is very motivating.”

Managing worldwide data
Clément says that the variety of graphics, especially the map feature, helps the team visualize their performance in the field, enabling them to understand their localized markets better. Clément also appreciates the simplified administrator rights. Even with 15 country managers, BIME allows for a single data presentation while allowing access to more granularity based on the different managers’ levels and location. “I also save time when publishing information,” Clément said. “Something that took 15-25 minutes previously now takes 20-30 seconds using BIME.”

Since implementation, BIME by Zendesk has proven to be a necessity at ESL Education. It allows the company to assess scalability and practical returns in real time and enables everyone to be more autonomous in their data analyses. BIME has provided the big picture ESL Education was looking for, while also giving them a view of the customer on an individual level.

Ready to discover your inner data analyst? Learn more about BIME by Zendesk.