What happens when you’re trying to run a global company from a few shared cells and disparate data? You need to take things a step further if you want scalable growth.
We love seeing fellow Sheffield success stories, and our friends at Gripple are the perfect example. They were established back in 1989 when they invented an ingenious way of joining agricultural wire fencing together. Now they employ a whopping 850 people across 15 global locations and they’re still manufacturing in Sheffield - we love that!
With such incredible global growth comes organisational challenges, which is where team Razor come in.
The challenge - disparate data just isn’t scalable
Gripple’s growth has been amazing, but they needed a central strategic data platform that can be used from all their global locations. Of course, we jumped at the chance to create this high-powered application!
We know how to make software projects a success, and the first step in this process is to run a discovery workshop. These workshops help us get clarity of vision and a shared understanding - if everyone has a different vision there is no way the project can be a success!
We’ve established a pretty awesome framework that means we can get to the real heart of the issue, embed with the client's team, and ultimately create something that truly kicks ass.
Our discovery session with Gripple was no different. We discovered they needed a solution that would take sales data from disparate places across their global marketing and put it into a shared platform where they could build a consistent data warehouse for their global sales team - in one universal format! Makes sense right?
As Gripple didn’t have a defined schema, we needed to create a solution that was metadata-driven with a dynamic set of rules fed into the data warehouse - this was no problem! Let’s get cracking.
Action - let’s create some automated awesomeness for Gripple
The Razor team is keen to get down to business and create something awesome for Gripple, to help them take their organisation to the next level.
We provided the platform to automate the creation of a star schema that allows the creation of a dashboard on data with a clear lineage back to the producing source system; this means that the team can quickly make well-informed decisions by glancing at the important dashboard data. We love being able to make people's lives easier through awesome tech!
Did we mention we love automation? OK, maybe once or twice! Gripple wanted to be able to just drag and drop into this data platform and let it run so that it can pull out the essential relevant data and organise it in line with the schema. This was a genius idea that would save the team so much time and protect against human error. Phew!
Want to know more about the tech stack? Hell yeah, you do!
We decided against creating a bespoke solution and used Azure Data Factory so that we could easily hand the strategic data platform over to the Gripple team to maintain. This has already been extended to pull in data from two further cloud based applications and the list continues to grow.
This was actually one of our first projects using Azure Data Factory, which was pretty exciting. There was lots of learning during the development process, but the Razor developers loved the challenge.
Result - a robust solution that runs like a dream
We’re pretty proud of this project. We supplied the awesome Gripple team with a robust yet easy to use platform that’s helping their global team stay on track.
We’ve now handed it over to the Gripple team who are actively using and enjoying it!
It’s been an interesting project, as development had already started before we partnered with Gripple. We got to build on the awesome work their internal team had already started, and now it’s back with that initial internal team who are developing the application even further! Such a cool process where collaboration really has been key.
Our partnership helped them achieve their goals much quicker than if they kept the process totally in-house, and it’s always nice to have another team validate your technical decisions.
We’ve already started on the next phase which and thanks to steering away from a bespoke application, the Data Factory will just plug in to the next evolution of the platform.
From an internal perspective, this project was really fun. We got to work with tech we’ve never used before and learnt a lot during the process. Particularly around the use of data dimensions and star schema which track data over time. Also how the schema evolves over time. And we seriously love data!
Now Gripple begin to see how these affect the end sales results and build on the historic data, tracking evolution over time. There is no way you could do that manually in a spreadsheet.
“Gripple is a people-focused company first and foremost - being able to create a central strategic data platform that works seamlessly as well as globally for our team is a vital step in the next stage of our growth. Working with Razor was more than a business transaction, hearts and minds together we took on a challenge and transformed this core process in our company. The Razor team are endlessly curious and it’s been a fascinating and brilliant journey together, we can’t wait to see what comes next.”