Solving an enterprise data challenge
SAP provides a solid backbone for EziBuy's e-commerce operations, but they lacked a way of surfacing and integrating this data into other systems. Reliance on traditional SQL queries directly from the operational systems was complicated, with slow response times when generating reports (up to 10 minutes). This led to frustrated business users who wanted to quickly see information and often ended up navigating away from the previous reporting environment - assuming it had failed to load. Anton Vermeer, BI Architect and Team Lead at EziBuy shares,
"We were coming from a place where reporting was ad hoc and sporadic. We wanted to build something for the enterprise level."
Dashboard and report duplication was common, and it was time-consuming to find the correct report or dashboard - known as ‘curated content’- leading to risk of inaccurate and inconsistent reporting.
The BI team were tasked with maintaining the environment through governance and security, but it was challenging without the right tools to certify the correct content.
EziBuy decided to implement MicroStrategy, a world-leading enterprise-grade analytics platform, to achieve this goal.
A rationalised environment
The adoption of MicroStrategy's single unified Semantic Graph (metadata layer) and in-memory OLAP cubes, now lets users go to the workspace they need and generate reports and interactive dashboards (dossiers) quickly. We’ve reduced the waiting time of 10 minutes, to less than 3 seconds. Vermeer highlights the benefit of trusted data,
"Not everyone knew if reports could be trusted or not. Our staff can now go to the standard MicroStrategy dossiers and get certified, trusted, and actionable information. There's no more guesswork or questions like 'can I use this, can I trust this?'"
There’s better control and governance over dashboard and report production, and the BI team can easily tag the ‘certified content’ - dashboards and reports deemed trustworthy sources.
"From an IT perspective, having all that information in maintainable and supported structures makes it easier because we know what needs to be tested. There aren't thousands of reports to test either. We test the central data layers, and if they work, the rest also works."
They’ve seen increased adoption and trust in the data too. Many users access reports at least ten times a day, in some cases up to fifty times. Users can easily create new dashboards/reports to suit their needs – a testament to the ease of the MicroStrategy platform and the highly engaged users at EziBuy. As Vermeer shares, there are significant time savings,
"Reports are standardised, integrated and available. In terms of time savings, there will be several days every year that we're now saving."
"Retail used to spend the whole of Monday running reports to decide what to send to stores. With MicroStrategy dossiers, this process is now 2 hours. They run the dossier, get the result and make the ranging decision."
EziBuy users can collaborate effortlessly and share content. More people are also accessing reports via mobile on the ‘MicroStrategy Library’ app – sitting around 15% of users.
EziBuy is well on its way to surfacing even better insights and making even better business decisions thanks to a more rationalised environment.
"We've had resilience during the uncertain times of COVID. Having information instantly available and leveraging all the prior work that we've done in MicroStrategy has been crucial for the executive team to say 'what's the impact, how do we adjust to come through this in a better fashion than we went into it?'"
With cutting-edge tech HyperIntelligence now in production and recently receiving the Global 'GameChanger' award from MicroStrategy, EziBuy has proven that they're not only keeping pace in a competitive market but an unpredictable one too.
EziBuy uses “In-Memory” Business Intelligence through MicroStrategy’s Intelligent Cube architecture.
Intelligent Cubes provide split-second results for user queries in a more secure and governed way, and they're ideal for enterprise-grade deployments.
The cubes create an in-memory copy of datasets, structured into multiple cubes across different data subject areas – including sales, stock, contact centre, marketing and merchandising. These areas became ‘workspaces’, accessible by users via a web portal.