Empowering retail transformation: A major convenience store chain’s journey to a modernized data estate

Blueprint transformed a national chain of convenience store’s data strategy, leveraging Azure Data Factory, Azure Databricks, and Azure SQL to redesign their Azure Data Platform. This partnership not only modernized their tech stack for faster insights but also established a dynamic key performance indicator model, enabling swift nationwide store manager reporting.

Client Snapshot

Who:

Convenience Store National Chain

Industry:

Retail

Technology and software:

Azure Data Factory, Azure DevOps, Azure Databricks, Azure SQL Server, Power BI 

Work Summary

What we Did:

  • Utilized Azure Data Factory, Azure Databricks, and Azure SQL to redesign and replumb data for the Azure Data Platform
  • Conducted a Course of Action Assessment, leading to the architecture design of a Greenfield Data Platform
  • Leveraged Azure DevOps for CICD and code repositories, as well as agile sprint ceremonies
  • Successfully deployed a dynamic & consolidated key performance indicator model for nationwide store manager reporting.

Client background

Our client, a major player in the convenience store industry, stands as a colossal presence with over 1,000 locations across the United States. Renowned for their expansive footprint and impactful role in the retail sector, our client has solidified its position as a market leader, providing convenience, quality products, and fuel services at an extensive scale. Blueprint was tasked with modernizing their data stack, identifying new platforms, as well as workflows to ensure their workforce is well-equipped for future scalability.

The Challenge

  • New Framework for Data Quality and Governance
  • Elevating Tech Expertise
  • Strategic Modernization for Innovation

Customer service and employee satisfaction are paramount for every retailer and its data strategy should align closely with its company’s overarching objectives and mission. Our client wanted to optimize its inventory management to ensure that high-demand products are readily available in key locations while minimizing waste and stockouts. They wanted to leverage advanced analytics to forecast demand accurately, tailor stock levels to individual store requirements, and empower store employees to focus on delivering exceptional customer service rather than dealing with inventory-related challenges. 

The Blueprint team worked with the retailer to develop its modern data estate in this first phase of the project. With a modernized data estate, the retailer could provide an enhanced customer experience driven by data analytics. By analyzing customer transaction data, browsing history, and feedback, the retailer will be able to tailor promotions and offers to individual preferences fostering customer loyalty and satisfaction. This data-driven approach to customer service not only aligns with the retailer’s objective of becoming the dominant convenience and gasoline retailer in each market but also supported its dedication to supporting its employees’ growth and success. 

The Solution

  • Facilitate a COAA
  • Redesign & replumb Azure Data Platform
  • Conduct comprehensive best practices training

The Blueprint team began phase one of the project by facilitating a Course of Action Assessment in partnership with the client’s key stakeholders. Several outcomes came from the workshop including:

  • Outlined strategy on future workstreams and business projects
  • Architecture for their Greenfield Data Platform
  • Selection of Databricks as their analytics platform of choice, establishing the client as a greenfield customer

The solution involved redesigning and replumbing data for the Azure Data Platform.

A Metadata-drive framework was implemented to enhance data management by promoting consistency, agility, and collaboration while providing transparency and control over the data lifecycle.

In addition, they leveraged expertise from the Blueprint team to build modernized reports via Power BI. The reporting has had a profound impact, receiving enthusiastic feedback for its seamless transformation of data into a highly usable format.

Users consistently praise the platform’s ease of creating compelling visualizations. Led by Business Intelligence and Engineering (BIE) specialists at Blueprint, the team optimized existing models and conducted comprehensive best practices training for the client’s business data analysts. This resulted in elevated skills for the client’s engineering team and successful deployment of prioritized Power BI models, including a store manager reporting system across the nation with comprehensive key performance indicators that give access to realtime data that fits their needs. 

“[We’re] very happy with where we are at and finding data gaps. Until we did this process, no one was looking at the gaps. This is a big piece of closing out & analyzing.”

The Blueprint Way

Blueprint addressed a problem that is multi-faceted and streams across multiple business units. The solution gave the client a new home for their data and ensured the right structure in place for proper governance, delivering a modernized data estate that can be managed in a clean, organized manner. The foundation in place has allowed the client to have better management, accessibility, and quality in areas like their rewards program, sales, video analytics, enterprise management, and product management. Blueprint was able to drive further value by improving reporting and offering guidance on best practices. This comprehensive approach, combined with delivering the right data at the right time, allows for the client to gain insights faster and make better data-driven decisions for a greater return on investment (ROI).

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