The analytics journey at Dhall & Nash
CEO Puneet Dhall explains why improved analytics was a priority for Dhall & Nash:
"We’re a small company, and we’re growing fast. We love data, and definitely understand its value, but were struggling to maximise that. Take for example our relationships with suppliers – the people who make the beautiful wine that our business is built on. Sales and product insights can enhance and add value to that relationship, but delivering on this was difficult. We have more than 100 suppliers and each sales report was taking one to two hours to prepare. That’s not sustainable."
Sales data was manually extracted into spreadsheets from the company’s cloud based omnichannel retail management system, Brightpearl, and the reports developed manually.
Dhall knew there must be a better way to deliver insights faster, in a more automated way, and had heard a bit about Power BI. He explored the product, liked what he saw, and realised he needed some expert help to get it up and running for Dhall & Nash.
“I was looking for a solution that was the right size and scale for our business, one that would work for us as we entered the growth phase. Theta understood what we needed, and came back with something that ticked the boxes, simplifying the process of getting our data from Brightpearl into a data warehouse, and then into Power BI to deliver beautiful, up-to-date illustrations of how our sales team and suppliers are performing.”
Theta Analytics lead Adrian Simpson adds:
“Cloud technology makes a solution like this possible. Microsoft’s new integration tool, Logic Apps, made it straightforward to get the data from Dhall & Nash’s retail management system. And we were able to scale up the Azure SQL Server database service during data processing to reduce processing time and then scale it down once complete to minimise costs.”
Sales and supply chain benefits from automated, up-to-date analytics
Power BI is already having an impact at Dhall & Nash. Previously, it wasn’t possible for sales staff to have an accurate measure of how they were performing against their targets, or compared to their team members. Now they have all the data they need, on their mobile devices. Says Dhall:
“Having clear and comprehensive up-to-date analytics is a game changer for us. We can see at any time exactly how we’re doing – as a company and as individuals. It’s very empowering. I see that with the sales team – if they are not on track to meet targets, they now know that, as it happens, and can change their patterns. So they might then put more effort into bulk orders, so they can meet their targets that month.”
The company also knows, on any day and with a high degree of accuracy, how they are tracking. Staff meetings can be more focused, and discussion more productive, thanks to the automated, up-to-date analytics provided by Power BI.
Analytics is having an impact on Dhall & Nash’s relationships with their suppliers too. Dhall explains:
“Many of our suppliers are boutique winemakers, small operations. Because Power BI is in the cloud, we’re able to share data visualisations with them too, so they can see how their products are performing in different markets. Some of the winemakers have told us it’s better than any insights they currently have, and like us they love having this data at their fingertips. So with analytics we have a way to add value to our all-important supplier relationships.”
Analytics for marketing
The company can track their sales right down to the level of a specific bottle in a restaurant wine list. They can also compare sales on price, variety, region and more – for example they can look at all the pinot noir in the market between $20 and $30, and see if there is regional variance in sales patterns – and are now exploring analytical and targeted marketing possibilities based on this kind of data analysis.
Enterprise level results for SMEs
When Puneet Dhall embarked on a journey to investigate how Dhall & Nash could do business better with analytics, his first impression was that analytics were for enterprise-level companies with vast resources.
“I used to see a bus drive past the office with ads for a bank, showing the kinds of charts and graphs that I wanted for Dhall & Nash. And that matched the message I initially got from the market, that analytics was for big companies, like the banks. I’m glad I persisted though, and found Theta – a company that was willing and able to design a solution that was right for us, and take us right through implementation and beyond. Even better, they are local. Being able to call or see someone and talk through the issue you are having is invaluable, and has really helped us get the hang of things fast.”
“I think we surprised ourselves, in the end, with what we have been able to achieve. Many other similarly sized businesses would benefit from an analytics solution like this. It’s all about knowing what you want to achieve – having a clear vision for your analytics - and then finding a partner who can help you realise it.”
Cheers to that!
Under the hood
- We implemented an Azure-based cloud solution to extract, store, visualise and analyse Dhall & Nash’s core business data.
- A Logic App was developed to connect to the various Brightpearl APIs and load the JSON data directly into Azure SQL Server. Logic Apps orchestrates the connectivity, error handling and notifications for the data loads.
- The Azure SQL Server database service is scaled up during the data processing to reduce processing time and then scaled down once complete to minimise costs.
- Using the built-in Azure SQL Server JSON functions, the JSON data is transformed into relational tables to simplify the Power BI model
- The Power BI model and reports have been developed with the required time intelligence to make month-to-date, quarter-to-date and year-to-date, this year, last year, etc. reporting simple across the available actual and target data.