Culinary Uniform Provider Data Warehousing
- BI & Big Data Consulting & SI
- $200,000 to $999,999
- Willing to Refer
"I’ve been very satisfied with the service they provided."
- Hospitality & leisure
- San Diego, California
- 51-200 Employees
- Phone Interview
DataSelf established a data warehouse to analyze and predict product trends in the culinary uniform industry. Functions also included inventory and supply chain management, pricing, and consumer satisfaction tracking.
One resource has seen the project to completion, and she demonstrated extraordinary expertise in data warehousing technologies. The ProClarity system allows for immense flexibility in data analysis and contributed to 15% revenue growth for the organization.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Please describe your company.
We're in the uniforms industry, and we supply the culinary and food service on a global basis.
What is your role and responsibilities?
I’m the chief operating officer.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What was your goal for working with DataSelf?
We had to create a warehouse management system to track all trends to industry analysis. This primarily regarded our products across industries, across sectors within the industry, clients, inventory management, supply chain management, pricing, and customer service satisfaction. We're heavily involved in the data warehousing side of the business to track and run the whole operations of the company.
Please describe the scope of their work.
They were extremely integral to the design of the system. I had the conceptual ideas of what I wanted to do based on my background, which is also IT. They were very knowledgeable in data warehousing, and the technology they used. In every situation, I designed and defined what we wanted. I met with their analyst to define how to implement it and spec what they did. They wrote the data that would be integral to the warehouse itself against which we developed our own reporting. They never developed any reporting, but they helped build the data warehouse repository based on the definition and the requirements that I provided to them. That has been consistent for the last five years.
We are using ProClarity at the moment. I understand that Microsoft is discontinuing that product. We're defining a proof of concept for Tableau to determine whether that becomes an adequate replacement for ProClarity. At some point during the next year to 18 months, we will have to replace our data warehouse. They’ve been a very good provider. Since Tableau can work and meets our requirements, I would definitely consider using that as the replacement for ProClarity.
Was ProClarity beneficial for your organization?
Absolutely. Extremely beneficial. Prior to my implementation of the data warehouse, all of the reporting was done with Crystal reports and printed reports. We have a data warehouse that allows us to record every transaction since 2005. We can do analysis on literally everything, and it's refreshed every night. We have up-to-date data in the data warehouse to make business decisions. It's been totally instrumental to the running of this business.
What was your process for selecting DataSelf?
We used a few different processes. I knew exactly what I needed in the way of business intelligence and a data warehouse product. I went back to some companies that I had used in the past. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. I wanted something that integrated with our ELP system. DataSelf had a product in ProClarity that already did that. It was not a case of having to start from scratch. We had a product that could already integrate, and it was a case of enhancing and building on the platform. It made it a relatively simple choice.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
This has been a work in progress over five years. As far as I’m concerned, these projects never come to an end. If you put licenses aside, and just looked at services, it was probably more than $100,000 in five years. There were obviously licenses associated with it as well. Any reporting that we did internally was not included in that cost.
If you want to use a product like this, and you want to achieve what we're trying to achieve, literally every month, a new set of requirements are defined that we add to the data warehouse. That’s how you have to continue doing it; it's during an extended period of time.
When was the latest milestone completed for that work?
About a week ago. We think out of the box in terms of how we want to use it. We’ve put some major new initiatives in, in preparation for 2014, in how we want to track some initiatives that we're running through the company. Starting in the beginning of November of 2013, we defined those in anticipation of 2014. They completed it about a week ago. They would complete the work that went into the repository. We built all the reporting that we wanted surrounding the repository.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
That is difficult because it's very subjective in terms of what our business does and how it operates. I don’t know how to quantify it for an outsider. Much of the business' growth is probably around 15 percent per annum, on revenue growth. Much of that growth is indirectly attributable to the use of this tool. That’s not to suggest that if we didn’t use the tool, we wouldn’t grow. The tool contributed to 15 percent of the growth. When you look at the business decisions that are taken by virtue of using the tool and what we’ve developed using that tool, it has helped to sustain that growth. We’ve grown 15 percent to 20 percent year on year for the last five years. The tool has been a contributing factor. I don’t think I could put a metric around that.
How has DataSelf performed so far?
They have some very good technical people. I typically work with one person who really knows our system. I’ve always insured that I continue to work with that individual because she knows our system inside and out. She knows what my requirements are and how I think. It becomes a lot easier. It would have been a challenge if they had given me different analysts to work with during the course of this project. I would be re-educating everybody each time I spoke to them. From that perspective, they've performed very well.
Is there anything unique about DataSelf that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
I’ve worked with other companies in the business intelligence area. Some of them are a lot bigger than DataSelf, and you don’t get the personalization and the service. The product is very good. Their knowledge of the platform in which we operate is very good. That’s why I’m giving them the first shot when we look at Tableau as a replacement to ProClarity because they understand our business. They understand what my requirements are. If I were to go out and look at another company, that would be a whole re-education of the organization. I wouldn’t do that if we didn’t get good service from them. I’ve been very satisfied with the service they provided.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?
I don’t know that there’s anything I would do differently. An area in which DataSelf probably could improve is that they don’t own the technology. They may be a distributor of the technology. There are times when I posted some questions to them, they had to go back and try to understand the product a little further to be able to provide a solution for me. That was in the past because this product, ProClarity, was purchased by Microsoft.
I’m really stretching for criticism. If there was any criticism, it would probably be in that area. In terms of their knowledge of data warehousing and overall knowledge. They were sharp.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
"They’ve been pretty accurate."
Value / within estimates
Willing to Refer5.0