01 Oct 2019 | Case Study

Keller Sports Saves 50% of IT Time With Fully Managed Pipelines

Ciara Rafferty
Ciara Rafferty
Keller Sports Saves 50% of IT Time With Fully Managed Pipelines
With Fivetran, Snowflake and Tableau, Keller Sports regains time previously spent writing scripts and manually extracting data and presents the business with data it can trust.

Key Takeaways

  • Keller Sports would need at least one additional engineer to keep up with the work that Fivetran does now.
  • Fivetran saves IT about 20 hours a week that used to be dedicated to writing scripts and solving issues. 
  • The Purchasing department has regained 75% of its time that was previously spent exporting raw data from MySQL into Excel.
  • With Snowflake, the business can scale and maintain everything without any dev ops or server needs.
  • The business has multiple Tableau reports across departments that enable data-backed decisions, including purchasing, marketing and sales.

Data Stack

Keller Sports, Founded in 2005 in Munich, Germany, is an ecommerce company selling sporting goods across over 20 different online shops in different European countries. When Florian Otte joined the business in the early days, he was responsible for developing the online shops. Now as CTO, he is responsible for all IT, which includes supporting the BI team as it builds out the company’s new reporting structure.

From Excel to BI

Otte has helped bring the business forward from where it was 10-12 years ago: “We used to use Excel for our BI. At the time it wasn’t that big of a problem but we quickly grew out of it. With millions of rows, Excel is not your friend. It took a couple of hours each week to generate a report.” 

As the business grew and people started to use Google Analytics, Otte developed an interface where people could search for revenue and other data. Eventually, it was no longer convenient to develop scripts and maintain the system, so Otte exported the data into MySQL and ran Tableau on top of it. This process, too, couldn’t scale as the business wanted to connect new sources and bring in different data types that would require hiring more developers. 

Fivetran Reduces Development Time  

Keller Sports brought on Kemb, a System Integrator, to help it find the right tools to build a more scalable and reliable data stack and landed on Fivetran and Snowflake.

“With Fivetran, we require fewer development resources,” says Otte. “In the past people would come to me to tell me numbers were inaccurate or that data hadn’t updated in days. Now, our team can connect things to Fivetran on their own. If something breaks or there is an issue, they can see it themselves in the Fivetran UI. They don’t need IT help anymore.”

Without Fivetran, Keller Sports would need to hire more engineers to connect additional online shops and keep reliable data flowing from its sources into its warehouse. “To keep up with our growth, we would need at least one full-time engineer to do what Fivetran does now, and that number will only increase,” Otte says. 

Fivetran saves IT about 20 hours a week that used to be dedicated to writing scripts and solving issues. The Purchasing department has regained 75% of its time that was previously spent exporting raw data from MySQL into Excel. “Our teams have new tools and numbers that they trust now. People don’t have to go into Excel to look for numbers and don’t have to confirm these numbers with other people.”

One particular feature of Fivetran that is important for Keller Sports is column hashing. “For us, it's important to hash columns in our data warehouse,” Laura Vaida, Junior Data Analyst at Keller Sports, says. “In the past, we could only hash the whole table now we can select the specific columns and ensure data security.”

Bringing Data into Snowflake and Visualising it With Tableau 

“Fivetran standard connectors bring the data into Snowflake automatically,” says Otte. “We currently have 140 GB of data in Snowflake and we can scale and maintain everything without any dev ops or server needs on our end. In the past, I had to make sure the MySQL database worked, had to fix it when it broke and decide on whether to delete data or buy additional discs. None of that is necessary anymore.” 

For Otte, the process of setting up Fivetran, Snowflake and Tableau together was very simple. “We didn’t need any IT resources, we simply connected everything to Fivetran within a few minutes and the data was automatically pushed to Snowflake and the BI team could work with the data.” After the business moved from MySQL to Snowflake, it changed its Tableau Server instance to Tableau Online. “Having all of these SaaS applications has made our data more reliable and more accessible. All three work together well and we don’t have to maintain anything on our end.”

Keller Sports has around 20-25 people across different departments actively using reports in Tableau. The Purchasing department has a report that enables the business to do efficient stock analysis and re-ordering. The Marketing department can view revenue by channel and analyse customer lifetime value. A margin report shows daily sales and margins that are critical for re-pricing. With transparent data, it is easier for the BI team to build or change reports that impact the entire business.

About Fivetran: Shaped by the real-world needs of data analysts, Fivetran technology is the smartest, fastest way to replicate your applications, databases, events and files into a high-performance cloud warehouse. Fivetran connectors deploy in minutes, require zero maintenance, and automatically adjust to source changes — so your data team can stop worrying about engineering and focus on driving insights.

About Snowflake: Snowflake is the leading data warehouse built for the cloud. Its unique architecture delivers proven breakthroughs in performance, concurrency and simplicity. For the first time, multiple groups can access petabytes of data at the same time, up to 200 times faster and 10 times less expensive than solutions not built for the cloud. Snowflake is a fully managed service with a pay-as-you-go-model that works on structured and semi-structured data.

About Tableau: Tableau helps people see and understand their data. The Tableau platform provides the breadth and depth of capabilities that enterprises need, and adapts to your environment with unmatched flexibility and choice, while meeting the toughest governance and security requirements. People love using Tableau because it is both powerful and intuitive. Tableau leads the industry with the most passionate user community, over 86,000 customer accounts, and a commitment to customer-focused innovation.

About Kemb: Kemb GmbH is a digital consultancy in the fields of business intelligence, data science, marketing, finance, and operations. At the core of our consulting work is a strong drive towards decision making based on actual data. With our cross-functional team and many years of C-level experience, we understand which strategic and operational decisions will bring your business to the next level.

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