October 6, 2021

Hackathon discovers 'we're onto a winner' BI solution for The Warehouse Group

Kiwi icon The Warehouse Group launched a 1-day hackathon to identify and solve new analytics opportunities in the business, inviting us as their long-term MicroStrategy partner to join the challenge.

The Hackathon concept was picked up and driven by Chapter Area Lead Keryn McKenzie and Chapter Lead of Business Intelligence and Visualisation Jeremy Dean. Dean explains his passion behind the project:

"The idea was to unlock the capability, creativity, and potential of the Business Intelligence & Visualisation function."

The morning MASH

A triage desk 'MASH' (My Analytics Support Help) kicked off the morning's events, allowing business users to work through questions and ideas for reporting. Dean says an open-door approach helped clarify business challenges:

"It drove engagement and met a need for us to be more accessible to our users outside the usual limitations of 9-5."

Building a new BI solution

HyperCards to the rescue

In the afternoon, the teams got to work. Team One (comprising Theta and TWG staff) were inspired by Maria Harrison from The Warehouse's accounts payable department, who needed better visibility over supplier information.

The team solved Maria's challenge with a proof of concept using 'MicroStrategy HyperCards'. Using this functionality, Maria can simply 'hover' over an invoice number in Outlook email, and a pop-up card displays all the information she needs to know about that supplier – saving time and delivering accurate, up-to-date information. They knew they were onto a winner after Harrison's positive feedback:

"It's amazing. It's working!"

Instant value over COVID lockdown

HyperCards have since rolled out to the Digital Team. Operating on The Warehouse website interfaces, it gives users valuable information to make quicker decisions and deliver better customer experiences. The new tech is living up to the hype, as Dean explains:

"Our recent lockdown pushed our information focus to our online business again, so having near real-time Stock and Sales measures available to the Digital/Online team, within the context of our own website, has been immediately valuable."

And he's eager for the next round of improvements:

"The team is working on expanding what information is available through the HyperCards, including measures based on data science models."
The use of HyperCards on The Warehouse website

Opportunities pipeline

An 'honourable discharge' board logged additional data and BI requests, creating an even better understanding of the information needs of the business. Dean highlights the importance of this:

"We revealed plenty of opportunities for further efficiencies and education."

Energy-driven, fast, effective results

A hackathon approach has created headway on real business information challenges. Dean comments:

"Often, we see new features released in tools like MicroStrategy, but it can take months or even years to find time to try them.  The hackathon gave us the headroom to experiment, and the result was the adoption of a technology that we probably would have struggled to justify otherwise."

The day extracted the team from day-to-day activities and allowed them to focus 100% on customers in the business and experiment with new tech.

"Feedback on the day is that we should do this every quarter. There was a real energy in the room, valuable discussions, and great enthusiasm to really change the game of how information drives our business."

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