Case Study

Leading Logistics Software Company Brings Their Data Front-and-Center with Snowflake

The Customer’s Challenge

After 30 years of business, connecting two billion consumers with 20 billion choices, a major eCommerce logistics software company needed to consolidate its data. The company also wanted to expand data use cases past IT into other business units. 

They understood the basics of Snowflake but needed help setting it up to pull from multiple sources and how to implement CI/CD to automate the data pipeline. 

phData’s Solution

The phData team brought three critical pieces to the engagement: 

  • Expertise in setting up both cloud data platforms and data pipelines 
  • Proprietary tools to make the process easier and faster 
  • An educational mindset to bring the client up-to-speed and equip them for the future

The Full Story

Since 1990, this logistics software company has provided omnichannel solutions that enable its customers to reach billions of people and ship billions of products. For a bit of context: the software that the company creates is used to ship 150,000 pairs of shoes every hour and 300,000 pounds of food every day. 

The company’s mission is to enable, enhance, and expand commerce across the globe.

Our mission was to enable, enhance, and expand the company’s cloud data capabilities across the company. 

For most of our customers, the focus is either on saving money or bringing more data together from multiple places. But this project had a different focus: getting more use out of the customer’s data by bringing it into Snowflake. 

The company needed data from Salesforce and Service Now to live in Snowflake. More importantly, the IT team needed a way to enable other business units (namely Marketing) with the benefits of the new environment.

Why phData?

phData has in-depth knowledge of the technology required for this project: Snowflake, Azure, and the implementation of a CI/CD workflow. Even from the presales stage, the customer saw that our team both understood the technology and had a firm grasp on their parameters and needs. 

While the product owner spoke with a previous customer as a point of reference, they ultimately chose phData because of our commitment to coach their internal expertise rather than simply implement the solution.

Collaborating and learning

At face value, the main thrust of this project was to get the customer integrated with Snowflake in order to gain a consolidated view of data from multiple sources. 

We accomplished the migration over seven weeks and three sprints. 

But, along the way, the team also met daily. Throughout these meetings, the team provided: 

  • Technical documentation
  • Support for ingesting data into Snowflake
  • Cost analysis for the platform 
  • Detailed steps and examples needed to implement CI/CD 

While the customer noted that every item from the Scope of Work was addressed in detail, they were most impressed with the data engineering team’s depth of knowledge. The project began as a way to move the data but concluded as seven weeks of education around data governance, information architecture best practices, and how to get the most out of Snowflake.

Setting up the right tools for the pipeline

In addition to getting Snowpipe and Azure set up for initial ingestion, our team laid out the documentation and initial setup for a CI/CD process using Flyway.

We also used (and onboarded the customer with) three free phData tools to make the process easier. 

  • Traverse – An application that helps users and administrators better understand roles and privileges in Snowflake. 
  • Streamliner – A data pipeline automation tool that simplifies the process of ingesting data onto a new platform. 
  • Tram – Lets phData customers automatically onboard users, provision roles, add users to roles, and provision information architecture. 

All three of these tools are designed to accelerate projects and make our customers more successful. We offer them for free with any engagement. 

Results

Through the technical and educational pieces of this project, we ultimately enabled the client to drive better technology and processes through their IT organization.

With our technical solutions, the client had their data fully migrated after seven weeks (along with a well-designed CI/CD process). 

Our training and educational mindset helped them get a first-hand look at how Snowflake works and how to get the most value out of it.

With our proprietary tools, they can keep things moving quickly. 

We could’ve just moved the data—but we didn’t. Instead, we walked through the right rules to follow, showed the customer how to measure what was going on, and provided them with what they need to implement feedback to keep maturing. 

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