enterprise data warehouse

Cloud-Based Inventory Management Data Warehouse

Business Situation

Inventory management is a key component of the client’s operations. Our client was searching for a way to combine internal operational data with a very large external customer demographics dataset. Their goal was to create a unique business intelligence (BI) solution that would proactively determine optimal part assortments for their dealer network based on customer distribution across the country and the specific requirements of the systems owned by those customers.

Several factors combined to make this a challenging problem:

  • The significant size of the demographic dataset (over a billion unique records)
  • The need to incorporate sales and equipment specification data housed in the organization’s enterprise data warehouse (EDW)
  • The need to quickly test and prove the viability of the proposed data hypothesis
  • The desire to avoid purchasing expensive servers
  • All of this without having to involve capacity-constrained internal IT resources, including the database administrators responsible for maintaining the existing EDW

Core was engaged to advise on potential technology architectures and ultimately, to build a BI solution that would help their product managers derive new insights on ideal stocking levels and part variety.

Our Solution

We delivered a cloud-based, business intelligence solution that derives insights on ideal stocking levels and part variety while avoiding costly investments in on-premises hardware. The proposed solution leveraged two elements of the Microsoft BI suite, Azure SQL Data Warehouse (to scale big data) and Power BI, and was immediately well-received by the client team.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner for Data Analytics, we demonstrated how our client could realize extensive cost savings and performance benefits using Microsoft's cloud-based suite of data platform and data analytics tools. The scalable cloud solution allowed the product managers to query and analyze their data in a highly performant manner via an end user-friendly interface without costly investments in on-premises hardware.

We tailored this data analytics solution to the client’s specific business needs and long-term strategic plan. Our team was comprised of several business intelligence engineers, a solution architect, and specialists in data modeling, cloud architecture, and data visualization.

The Results

Business Results
This custom solution, driven by Azure’s data processing capabilities, facilitates increased efficiency and profitability through more specific, geographically-tailored stocking methods. These capabilities allow the company to deliver an optimal product assortment and positively impact customer satisfaction. The data-rich Azure platform accurately informs long-term business decisions and improves day-to-day operations for the company.

Time to Value
The project was completed in four months, on a shorter timeline and lower budget than using alternative solutions such as SAP HANA. Every aspect of the project’s mantra – “better, faster, cheaper” – was achieved.

Improved User Experience
The new user experience has received resounding positive feedback, providing improved flexibility, customer response time, efficiency, and user confidence. The program limits technical terms, uses easily identifiable checkboxes, and has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. By leveraging the power of Azure, the system is significantly faster to load and process data, run reports, and prototype environment readiness.

Cost-Effective, Easily Managed, and Scalable Technology
The architecture of the solution provides ease of scaling, enhanced business intelligence capabilities, mature and stable technology, and data security.

The client received quantifiable savings through cheaper predictable modeling and lower storage costs. Under Azure’s fee structure, the company is charged only for additional storage fees in proportion to future scaling needs, which eliminates large up-front expenditures. The client is also benefitting from the lower costs inherent in cloud systems by reducing the costs associated to support, maintenance, and infrastructure. Additionally, there are no annual maintenance, licensing or upgrade fees.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

Core's data team can help your business make better decisions by providing expert-level data analytics solutions from forecasting and strategy to optimization, performance analysis, trend analysis, customer analysis, budget planning, financial reporting and more. We can help you turn your data into actionable insights so you can improve and grow your business.

Technologies Used

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Power BI

Azure SQL Data Warehouse