"It has taken a somewhat disappointing software installation on which we had spent multiple millions of dollars, and just by layering this software piece, [Tableau] made it run better, and let us find answers instantly," Priakos said.
Answers to questions like "How are Internet sales of our jerseys doing?" which formerly took 30 minutes to find out, now can be gleaned instantly through Tableau, Priakos said.
Or "Where do our jerseys sell well outside of Texas?" Counterintuitively, those turned out to be cities that were home to the Cowboys' biggest traditional rivals -- New York City (Giants), Washington (Redskins) and Philadelphia (Eagles).
Priakos can now come in every morning, scan the real-time data for about 15 minutes, and then create a to-do list for the daily manager's meeting that tackles every aspect of the business.
Priakos also credits Tableau with helping the team tighten its shipping.
"Now we ship 50% of our orders on the same day they were ordered," he said, while improving the overall on-time ship rate to the high 90% from the 70-something percent. Faster shipping leads to better sales at its retail partners.
Priakos is so confident about his logistics backend today that the team is expanding this in a big way.
The team is building a 400,000 square-foot headquarters for its merchandising arm near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport that is expected to open early next year. That will replace and double the 180,000-square-foot warehousing space that is scattered over three buildings.
The expansion is needed to accommodate both growing sales of Cowboys' merchandise, as well as new product lines. It already handles merchandising, manufacturing and sales for three leading universities -- Texas A&M, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Arkansas -- and is in talks with four other schools, Priakos said. It is also starting a mainstream young mens' clothing line that won't have any Cowboys branding on it.