A modern data stack for Douglas
To be successful in today’s e-commerce world, a modern, scalable business intelligence landscape for extensive product, marketing and customer analysis is essential. For this reason, DEPT® has been supporting Douglas for 2 years as a service provider, enabler and partner in setting up a central data platform.
Data rows per month from 30+ data sources
The starting position
At the beginning of Douglas’s journey, DEPT® faced a challenge: A grown IT infrastructure with a database that was difficult to scale, slow processes and static tools all of which needed to be modernised to deliver a fast, scalable and flexible data stack.
Because the capacity of the existing system was limited, certain analysis could not be carried out to the desired extent and depth. In addition, there was an enormous amount of manual work involved in creating the report because data from different countries and companies had to be merged. Analysis that required a combination of data (e.g. tracking and marketing data) from different tools, made for long delays before insights could be gained.
The design of a modern data stack
Together with Douglas, DEPT® were able to identify optimisation potential in three key areas:
As Douglas’ own IT resources were limited for new integrations, Fivetran was recommended. This software can be used to extract data from various sources and load it into data warehouses. Notable: Today, Douglas is Fivetran’s largest customer in Europe.
Data storage and transformation
Douglas had already chosen the Snowflake cloud data platform, which DEPT® would have recommended. This tool fits perfectly with Douglas’ challenges and goals. DEPT® provided their own SQL Runner for the data transformation.
Data activation and visualisation
The collection of data is not an end in itself, it always serves to gain knowledge. To do this, however, the data must first be made visible and understandable. Accordingly, DEPT® conducted a thorough comparison of visualisation tools in eleven categories and over 50 requirements defined by Douglas. Tableau was identified as the best solution and is now gradually being established by Douglas as the central self-service tool.
The data stack in action
Thanks to the use of the tools mentioned, data management for Douglas is now significantly simpler, more efficient and more effective.
Standardised KPIs eliminated
Gone are the days of manually combining dozens of Excel files to create a simple sales report. DEPT® were able to make a significant contribution, ensuring that data from all Douglas subsidiaries are now available in the same format in one central location. The metrics are standardised across the company and Douglas has the assurance that “Gross Revenue 3” really does mean the same thing for Nocibe in France and Germany.
In the past, a high level of manual effort was required to create Excel reports that were sent to the board every week. Now the data for the reports is processed fully automatically, making it available in the visualisation tool, so that the C-level at Douglas has the current reports available every morning before the first coffee.
Basis for self-service
With the newly created data platform, the Douglas teams are able for the first time to carry out tool-supported independent data analysis on a larger scale. Standardised KPIs, Tableau training and the connection of new data sources enables them to easily find and visualise the data they need. Reports can now be created independently by the employees instead of demanding the valuable time of the IT department at Douglas.
Planning & Forecasting
Working closely with Douglas, Snowflake data is also used in forecasting tools for planning inventory and pricing. Additionally, to enable automated, data-driven decisions and to increase the degree of independence of the teams in the future, DEPT® are currently preparing a business case for the use of reverse ETL solutions such as Hightouch or Census together with selected Douglas departments.
Ready for a data-driven, digital future
Thanks to the modern data stack, Douglas saves around half a full-time position to a full-time position, according to their calculations. With data integration via Fivetran, data storage via Snowflake on Azure, DEPT®’s SQL Runner for data transformation and Tableau as a visualisation solution, Douglas has reached the first major milestone in digitisation. We look forward to continuing to accompany our customers on their way to a data-driven, digital future.
Thanks to its high level of technological expertise, DEPT® is the ideal partner for modernising our data stack. The implemented technology is not an end in itself but optimally tailored to our business needs.
Jonas Rashedi, Director of Data Intelligence & Technologies, Douglas
Global Lead of Data Practice
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