Becoming a Data-Driven Organisation with a Single Source of Truth
By combining data into a single source of truth, Lights4fun now has a solid data foundation that has unlocked insight capabilities and automated repetitive KPI reporting, saving hours of manual work each day.
Founded in 2003, Lights4fun is a direct-to-consumer online retailer of decorative lighting for home and garden. With annual revenues exceeding £30 million, more than 70 employees, and a market presence across Europe and the US, Lights4fun has seen substantial growth over the past few years thanks to its highly effective logistics capabilities.
Backed by North Edge Capital in 2020, Lights4fun has used The Data Refinery to create a solid data foundation from which the business can report on progress, inform growth plans throughout the UK and overseas and meet their long-term business objectives.
Stored in multiple locations and analysed using spreadsheets, Lights4fun’s data was challenging to access, time-consuming to analyse, and difficult to validate - making extracting meaningful, timely insights effectively impossible.
The main pains felt by Lights4fun were:
Data was not available in a centralised location meaning any analysis or reporting work was preceded by time-consuming data extraction and manipulation – a task that had to be undertaken every time the data changed.
Reports and insights were driven by a standard ‘snapshot analysis’ that had a time delay between something happening and stakeholders being made aware of it.
More time was being spent manually moving data than working on deriving value focused action.
Multiple operational teams were required to produce meaningful insights.
Duplicated data made it difficult to have a single view of the customer.
As the data volume and number of sources grew, the methodology required to successfully connect data using spreadsheets was becoming more complex and difficult to maintain.
High potential for error due to manual processes.
Whether being used for KPI tracking, building marketing segments, or deeper behavioural analysis to inform strategic planning, Lights4fun’s existing method of data storage and presentation was not suitable for its growth ambitions.
The Data Refinery team worked closely with key stakeholders at Lights4fun to understand the key problem areas and how the features of The Data Refinery could alleviate those pains.
Single source of truth
A central location for all data to be integrated and made accessible to anyone across the organisation.
Common data model
Store all records from the different source systems in a single, easy to use, standardised data format – to increase the capability for cross system analytics and explore previously unobtainable insight.
Automate KPI reports
Eliminate the time spent by the team manually creating the same reports each month.
Enable data-driven decision making
Make consumable insight available to team members to improve day-to-day decision making.
Lights4fun has various data collection channels covering sales, marketing, and operations. Each source operates independently making it difficult to see the whole picture of performance or to make informed decisions as all the key data points are spread across multiple systems.
All available historical data was ingested with syncs running on an automated schedule to pull the most recent data from each source. This created a reliable single source of truth presented in an analytics ready common data model that powers pre-configured dashboards and insights.
With all the customer data in one place, a single view of the customer is produced by linking all related data for each individual into unique profiles. Each profile contains the most recent and reliable version of an individual, made up of the data from all source systems – such as name, email, address, purchase history and interactions.
This joined-up, clean data set, provides insight into how the same customer interacts with a brand over time across various touchpoints. Customer behaviour modelling and segmentation (including a Recency, Frequency and Spend model) are applied to drive informed decision making, campaign planning and data activation strategies.
Automating Report Generation
The Data Refinery transformed Lights4fun’s reporting process from a time-intensive, monthly manual task, replacing it with access to a suite of automatically updated pre-configured reports.
Covering sales, customers, marketing, and product, these reports are collated into dashboards and are available to the team at Lights4fun 24/7. Everyone now has access to the same data, in the expected format, ensuring the most up to date insight is available whenever needed to inform decision making.
With the ability to slice by market, sales, channel, store, marketing channel, and acquisition type, as well as comparing against previous year performance and future targets, the dashboards are interactive, meaning they can be used across different business units without the need to create entirely new dashboards. A management report view is also available to provide the senior leadership with a snapshot view of performance at any given time.
“The ability to deep dive into top level data patterns allowed us to understand and react very quickly to a competitor undercutting us in price on Amazon – hugely powerful insight in a seasonal business where at high season, every day of sales can impact our performance”
Amman Boughan Chief Financial Officer
Lights4fun has an in-house analytics team that build customer segments and custom reports. With the data spread across multiple disjointed systems, more time was spent getting the data in the right shape, rather than doing any value-adding analysis.
With the implementation of The Data Refinery, the whole team now has access to up to date, accurate data and insight models without any of the manual work. In addition, The Data Refinery provides third-party data enrichment (e.g. ONS sociodemographic data) to supplement any first-party data, broadening the range of insight available about customers.
The in-house analytics team are able to quickly build bespoke reports and customer segments by using The Data Refinery to feed reliable data to Power BI, driving a better understanding of customer behaviour at different points in the sales cycle, and the underlying value drivers in the business.
This newly streamlined approach is now supporting decision making across forecasting, purchasing, marketing and product planning.
“The modelled data has enabled us to build reports that have previously taken their owners several hours to manually produce.”
Andy Dunn Data Analytics Manager
From combining all data into a single location, to automating report generation, The Data Refinery has moved Lights4fun into a more mature analytical state where they can quickly access data-driven insights without having to spend hours each week manually wrangling multiple spreadsheets.
ahead of the plan with regards to insight capabilities
saved each week by automating reports
Having a single source of truth has removed much of the pain felt around duplicated data and multiple schema designs, streamlining the entire process of data management and making data more accessible on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly The Data Refinery has provided a foundation from which multiple business units can run their daily operations and explore new growth opportunities, providing a solid platform for future growth.
“One data scientist plus The Data Refinery plugged into Power BI, has given us more than a full team of analysts could without the necessary tools"
Amman Boughan Chief Financial Officer
Data now plays a key role in day-to-day decision making at Lights4Fun – teams can confidently use data across the business, driving value-focused action and allowing them to be more confident in exploring new opportunities. The Data Refinery enables Lights4fun to quickly access the high quality, reliable data they need for their growth plans.
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