Global baby products retailer Mayborn Group knew it needed a better way to manage data. The executive team at the UK-based company, which employs more than 1,200 people worldwide, wanted employees to transition from managing information within Excel spreadsheets to a globally aligned, analytics-friendly approach to information management.
Prior to forming a partnership with Qlik in 2018, Mayborn Group's data management was manual, time-intensive, and expensive. Data was collected, but it wasn't shared throughout the organization, it wasn't used to make critical enterprise-wide decisions, and reporting was handled at a regional level and then aggregated manually. This approach resulted in duplication of efforts and painfully slow processes.
"As with a lot of organizations, we were silo-based," says Dave Elliott, Global Data and Analytics Manager at Mayborn Group. "There was a lot of manual and locked data wrangling, and users would scramble to find information from various sources. That needed to change."
“We worked in silos, with a lot of manual and lock data wrangling. That needed to change.”
- Dave Elliott, Global Data and Analytics Manager, Mayborn Group
To start, Mayborn implemented Qlik Sense to deliver analytics across a group of 100 users. The team began by examining core business functions, such as sales and commercial finance, where it hoped to consolidate data, build analytics data pipelines with Qlik, and govern the data so that everyone could make use of a single, accurate version of information.
Elliott and his team knew that if raw data could be taken from wherever it resides, freed from the silos in which it is typically locked, and made analytics-ready, it could be structured in a way that technical novices would find useful. The next step would be adding business context to the data. At that point, not only would the data be ready for analysis, but also users from other departments would be able to generate actionable insights and develop automatable data processes.
The team quickly realized that the Qlik technology would be powerful enough to help accomplish their goals, but getting everyone at the company to contribute to – and use – the platform would require some handholding. As is the case with most digital transformations, data literacy was a barrier to adoption. It required upskilling and a mindset shift.
Mayborn Group's data and analytics team formed support groups for its regional teams and business units to help them report data in a uniform way across the enterprise, and conducted workshops to help users understand potential use cases. As users became more familiar and comfortable with the system, Elliott's team gradually increased adoption.
Once data-gathering efforts had been standardized, and business users were comfortable with Qlik, Mayborn began consolidating electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) data from global retailers. The company wanted to consolidate inventory data, sales data, buying-pattern information, and more, with its own internal data. The process wasn't as simple as importing spreadsheets. Retailers would send sales data based on their own product codes rather than Mayborn's, which meant Mayborn first had to map and consolidate the data, then bring it into a central governed process. Thanks to Qlik, the data only had to be mapped once. Reports were automatically fed into the system, and the information was readable and actionable in a way it never would have been if Mayborn's team of data analysts had to manually consolidate, map, and evaluate the information.
"That's a huge efficiency gain," says Elliott. "It provides us with quick and easy access to hundreds of millions of rows of data. And it gives us the ability to slice and dice the data in any way we need to."
“We achieved huge efficiency and the ability to slice and dice the data in any way we need do.”
Mayborn Group's marketing team can now analyze EPOS data and compare it to market share data to see how the company is performing against its competitors and determine which products are making an impact on market share. Although Elliott can't calculate the amount of time Mayborn saved, days of labor for 20 to 30 people have been turned into a process that is automatically updated.
However, the journey hasn’t ended there. In 2019 Mayborn Group began selling direct-to-consumer (DTC), launching an e-commerce site in the UK that not only brought the company closer to its customers but also enabled analysts to gather a treasure trove of new, personalized data. Transactional data from the DTC website is automatically fed into Qlik Sense, where analysts can view individual purchase behavior. If a dad orders a Tommee Tippee Superstar Sippee weaning cup for his four-month-old, for example, Mayborn knows that in a year, the same dad will likely need a No Knock cup for the child, and can market to the father accordingly.
The Qlik Data Integration portfolio allows Mayborn to combine data from every source in an automated and easily governable way. Regardless of where it originates or how it enters the system, information is pulled into a central data warehouse, standardized, and then disseminated across additional platforms, such as Mayborn's email marketing platform Adobe Campaign. Without Qlik, the data input and campaign initiation would have been a manual process. Instead, marketers are freed up to focus on personalized and automated customer outreach, and analysts can focus on predictive analytics rather than churning data. These efficiencies will continue to create value for Mayborn as it extends its DTC sales in the US, Australia and France. And, through expanded use cases, Elliott is hoping to develop additional granular-level metrics, such as demand planning and forecast accuracy.
"Instead of business units owning bits of data, or data platforms, the data management team takes the responsibility of owning the data and bringing that into a central hub," Elliott explains. "We have decreased the cost of acquiring, collecting, and managing data and, in essence, we are enabling data-as-a-service for users from other departments."
To support Qlik adoption and the overarching data strategy, Mayborn continues to upskill its global community with an ongoing data literacy program. The company is creating a site within its communication platform where users can engage with the Mayborn analytics community, providing regular updates in relation to app developments, releases, and content. The goal is to unite Mayborn analytics users, regardless of their business unit, as a global organization, so they can collaborate and share experiences.
“The data and analytics management team is now the first port-of-call for users.”
"As a business and as a data team, we weren't looking to have an army of database systems and we weren't looking to have an army of resources managing data on a day-to-day basis," Elliott says. "We wanted something that would empower our teams without adding a huge amount of overhead. The data and analytics management team is now the first port-of-call for users. We don't have to ask if they need help with anything. They come to us and tell us what it is they're trying to accomplish and we're usually able to help. Qlik makes this possible at every turn."
Juan Martinez is a Senior Editor at Harvard Business Review. His writing and commentary have been featured on ESPN, Esquire, Harvard Business Review, NBC News, Fox Business, Entrepreneur, Reuters TV, Publishers Weekly, ClickZ, and ZDNet. He has a masters degree in creative writing from Columbia University and a bachelors degree from Bard College.