In 2019, embarking on its digital transformation journey, this retailer decided to build and adopt a new data platform.
This data platform was intended to lower the overheads of managing legacy systems, streamline self-service reporting, and serve as the base for newer analytics and machine learning capabilities.
However, by early 2021, the platform was not meeting expectations. Daily data loads were taking an average of 18 hours to complete, making it difficult to tap into vital business information that could inform strategic decisions, attract more customers and ultimately cater to the next generation of convenience shoppers.
With their millions of customer touchpoints each year, generating huge volumes of data, they needed a new data platform that would give them the ability to capture vital customer information to prioritise the most impactful marketing, sales, and service initiatives.
The retailer was seeking a solution that would:
- Provide and support their stores and franchises – with up-to-date business data
- Provide 24/7 coverage to monitor the efficiency of the platform
- Optimise costs to maximise business value
Arinco, a trusted technology partner with a long-standing relationship with the convenience store brand, were recommended to their data team by other parts of the organisation, as well as Microsoft.
We engaged in optimising the enterprise data platform, leveraging our Azure Data Done Right offering, enabling the business to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour and identify areas for improvement to make the best use of its incredible customer information.
From the initial assessment, the data team set aggressive targets for optimal processing performance. The objective was to initially reduce the daily load time by 50%, with the aim of making data available to the business by 11 am the following day – in some cases, an improvement of almost 48 hours.
Arinco’s Data Done Right offering provided the perfect solution to the retailer’s data challenges, allowing the team to get under the hood of the existing data platform and quickly identify opportunities to improve the speed at which the data was made available to the business.
Our team worked collaboratively with the retailer’s team to:
- Streamline jobs for the best use of platform resources
- Consolidate extraneous/legacy processes
- Deliver timely data to support business objectives
- Implement Power BI for more inclusive reporting and analytic
- Optimise data warehousing, table structures, and queries
The process was iterative, involving a level of experimentation and agility to align the retailer’s data platform to the performance level the business was seeking.
The team, comprising of both Arinco and the retailer’s Data Engineers, were able to agree on the highest priority activities, speed up decision-making, and then deliver data automation with maximum impact.
Within the first three months, Arinco improved the retailer’s load performance by 45% and remediated stability issues in the customer codebase. We then scoped methods to implement Azure Analysis Services instances, providing a clear pathway to transition to a Power BI Premium instance. This would increase the adoption of the data platform and allow existing legacy reporting platforms to be decommissioned.
By the end of the project, daily load times were reduced even further, overachieving even the initial aggressive targets, with data now available to the business by 9.00am. Having readily available data enabled a direct pathway for business workflows and, in turn, decision-making purposes.
With a robust data platform in place, the retailer has gained visibility into high-impact buyer behaviour and can quickly identify business benefits, not only to improve customer engagement but also to make significant strides towards achieving their goals. By leveraging Arinco’s expertise and Azure Data Done Right offering, the retailer optimised costs and maximised business value while providing and supporting their stores and franchises with up-to-date business data.
From the success of this project, Arinco is now supporting key data initiatives to develop a single view of the customer model and further innovate their data and insight capabilities in Azure. The retailer is committed to developing additional personalised solutions, driving greater long-term brand loyalty, and ensuring they remain ahead of the market, even beyond price.