FCA to Empower Hundreds of Users with Self-service Analytics and AI-driven Decision Intelligence

This is the story of how FCA is empowering 100s of users to go beyond traditional BI capabilities while saving 100+ hours a month of manual data reporting to reliably make better data-informed decisions.

The Opportunity: Modernize Analytics to Scale Impact of Data and Resources

FCA is a large faith-based athletics nonprofit operating in 106 countries on a mission to impact the world through sports ministry. Danny Burns, Sr. Director of Technology Integration, leads a 4-person team responsible for equipping FCA’s 2300+ staff and 1000s of local volunteers with mission-driving technology. Data and analytics modernization was key to scaling the nonprofit’s impact and wisely stewarding resources.

Challenges: Legacy Reporting, Low Access, and Lots of Demand

Analytics maturity at this 68-year-old nonprofit was low, and users had various analytical needs to perform their duties.

• Casual data consumers needed org-wide and local-specific operational KPIs (# of Camps/Huddles hosted, Bibles distributed, trainings, etc.)

• Staff/leadership needed answers to specific ad-hoc questions

• A core team needed advanced insights into key drivers & root causes

Supporting all these needs was 1 data engineer providing corporate-level reporting via SSRS from FCA’s fragile and monolithic data infrastructure. However, since KPIs varied per state, the engineer found himself spending hours writing custom queries to pull ad-hoc reports. Report outputs were tabular and FCA lacked any visualization or dashboarding tools.

The result was a massive analytics backlog, a lack of data empowerment, and hundreds of hours a year up and down the organization of manual effort:

  • Department heads spending days producing specific monthly reports
  • End users manually formatted reports into charts in Excel and .PPT

Backlogs and individual manual data work hampered data-driven decision efforts. Decision-making therefore remained largely the same as it had for decades, despite data from the field potentially informing otherwise. FCA risked misaligning resources to opportunities and was hampered by backlogs at a time when they needed to be agile and grow into developing data-driven decisions.


“Tellius will help everyone from our leadership team to our local volunteers rapidly & reliably make data-informed, faith-based decisions to scale FCA’s impact and steward our resources wisely.”

Danny Burns Senior Director of Technology Integration FCA

Why Tellius

FCA has begun modernizing its data infrastructure to a modern, services-based architecture. Next, they evaluated traditional BI vendors, but discovered some key limitations.

First, dashboards were too guardrailed/aggregated for ad-hoc explorers. Second, traditional BI didn’t help advanced users see why things change or how to improve. Finally, per-seating pricing was prohibitively expensive for casual consumers.

FCA explored modern augmented analytics vendors to potentially leapfrog BI. They selected Tellius for its:

Ease of Use: Search, Vizpads, Embedding = data exploration for all

Intelligent Automation: Routine reporting could be automated

Deeper Insights: Automated Insights surface why things change while ML-powered segmentation spot how to improve, all at a scale

Analytics Roadmap: Tellius added value immediately and fit with FCA’s future analytics roadmap as one platform encompassing descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics

Access for all: innovative capacity-based pricing (rather than seat-based pricing) afforded access to casual analytics consumers as well as the data curious and those seeking to dive deep


“Tellius blew all the other BI vendors out of the water. I like to say we got BI+, i.e., all the capabilities of BI for our needs today, PLUS augmented analytics for our future needs. We’re learning to drive our sports car when a lot of other people are driving sedans!”

Danny Burns Senior Director of Technology Integration FCA


💲 Savings: FCA stood up a modern analytics stack in a fraction of the time required for a traditional one, at a fraction of the cost, with the same IT team (no additional FTE costs)… all while going beyond tradi- tional BI capabilities (in the form of NLQ, Automated Insights, AutoML) so the organization has room to grow as analytics needs mature in the future.

👤 Potential Staff Multiplier: 1 data staffer has gone from the bottle- neck to eventually allowing all 2000+ staff to effectively become citizen data analysts capable of answering their own questions with data. While the rollout of Tellius to all staff is ongoing, the potential impact was a key decision-maker in modernizing the organization’s data management and analytics.

New Capabilities for Better Decisions in the Future: Local leader- ship boards around the country that help staff fundraise and meet local goals will have visibility and interactive dashboards that they previously didn’t (straight from their phones, on the field), allowing them to make better localized decisions. Simultaneously, FCA leadership from the field all the way to the c-suite will have real-time information about key local metrics to make better strategic decisions.

Download the FCA Story in PDF.


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