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Deeper customer insights with modern data management

Snowflake and Slalom

At a glance

Slalom partnered with a global shoe manufacturer to bring the company better customer insights through a data management platform built with Snowflake. We helped the client’s sales and marketing teams become more accurate and agile, targeting specific regions and getting ahead of trends.

What we did

  • Data management system using Snowflake
  • Modern culture of data
  • Self-service data ingestion
  • Center of excellence
  • Global trading room
  • Employee data analysis training

In search of better customer insights

This global shoe retailer has been in business for over 100 years. For most of that time, it has sold shoes through retailers across the globe. But the retailers didn’t share customer data, and our client was left to make educated guesses about its consumer base without any facts to back them up.

Once the company started collecting customer data via direct-to-consumer sales channels, it still lacked a single view of all its data sources such as loyalty programs, web traffic, and in-store sales devices. The existing data was also stored in internal digital file systems. Our client knew it could get a lot of insight into its customer base and the marketing techniques that were working if it could collect various data sources in one place.

The company asked Slalom to help bring its data together in a cloud-based solution so it could get better insights and engage more strategically with customers. We proposed Snowflake, a platform that would let the company ingest existing and future data from various sources, and a center of excellence (COE) so business-facing employees could consume data and build reports.

Our client knew they could get a lot of insight into their customer base and the marketing techniques that were working if they could collect various data sources in one place.

Changing the way data gets ingested and used

When sales and marketing data is kept in spreadsheets, it’s difficult and time-consuming to judge performance or predict trends. This project was one of the first times Slalom set up what’s known as self-service data ingestion: figuring out a simple way for the client to connect data coming from disparate spreadsheets and systems, using Snowflake.

Snowflake helped our client react to its many different data needs by giving internal customers their own data warehouses. These separate warehouses, which pulled from the same database, gave the client fast access to the data as it was being ingested and assimilated into the system.

We also helped our client make all that data consumable for business use cases. Part of the mission of the COE was to create a data glossary with definitions of all the data elements so people would have an easier time finding what they were looking for.

Business insights are often theories tested by data. The COE aids the process of exploring the data and validating the theory. But for that to work, the data needs to be clean and vetted. We helped our client operationalize the whole process from ingestion to insights, training their employees along the way so there was never a major handoff step.

Business insights are often theories tested by data.

A surge of interest in using data

As we built the data platform, we had regularly scheduled conversations with the client’s teams to reassess and validate what we were trying to do. Throughout these conversations, they recognized new ways that data supports their business, such as conducting an ecommerce shopping cart analysis to drive recommendations.

Once the teams discovered interesting insights, they started holding town hall meetings where they would describe what the data had revealed. These meetings became incredibly popular among the employee base, and our client discovered that many people were interested in using data in their roles and wanted to leverage what we were creating. More and more employees began getting involved, from creating dashboards for their departments to looking at bigger-picture trends.

With most data platforms, companies need to know up front how big of a platform they need, and scaling can be difficult. But with Snowflake, the client was able to react quickly to new internal customers’ needs. For example, when an executive asked for a Black Friday database at the last minute, Snowflake was able to deliver.

Harnessing the thought power in the organization

In the middle of the project, one person at the company came to us and proposed the idea of a global trading room tied to the data platform: a place where teams could look at orders, recognize trends, shift fulfillment to places with more demand, and discover other ways of being agile.

Our client’s teams were already using data to build on human ideas and go beyond descriptive analytics. Using the global trading room, they were able to save money, get to market faster, and make smoother product transfers.

Our client embraced this data transformation and ran with it: they ingested hundreds of spreadsheets, both internal and third-party data, and onboarded more than 100 users to the platform once the project was completed.

At the time the project ended, the most recent three years of sales data were in the system, and the sales and marketing teams were able to understand metrics like changes over time, trendsetting countries, regional spread, and more.

Our client achieved its goal of gaining better customer insights, which lead to more strategic engagement. Going forward, the marketing team knows where to focus its efforts in terms of channel, region, product, and more—and can improve its sales outcomes as a result.

The solution was so successful that our client’s parent company asked us to implement the same thing for them, and the client (the subsidiary) asked us to take on several more data projects once this one was completed.

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