So before answering the question “Why does Hershey need a Big Data Solution?” Let us have a glimpse of the journey that Hershey traveled for so many years.
What is Hershey, that we are talking about?
Well, we are talking about The Hershey Company, often called Hershey’s. They have been in the business of manufacturing sweet snacking since the year 1894, founded by Milton S. Hershey. After all through the years and constant focus on growth and providing more and more sweet snacking solutions, Hershey manufactured chocolates, bars, cocoa powders, soya drinks, milkshakes, and syrups.
To explore more about the products of Hershey, click here.
It’s been 129 years since Hershey is serving us with their sweetness and has grown in around 60 countries around the globe.
Hershey achieved the milestone of $ 10 billion in revenue in the year 2022.
Hershey’s started facing the big data problem
Hershey has become one of the leading brands in the sweet snacks industry but the question is how did they achieve it? One of the reasons for this success is their field sales team who are actively involved in Hershey used to analyze this data to give proper insights to their sales staff for effective results.
Initially, the process of collecting and storing data in Hershey was very distributed which was a big enough challenge for Hershey’s to handle. Distributed storage of data is used to create delays in analyzing the data and giving proper insights to the sales staff. This delay used to hamper the efficiency and productivity of the sales staff.
“When it comes to analysis, real-time insights are key for Hershey. t’s hard for our field sales staff to act on a product that has been out of stock for a week.”
Chad Doremus, Senior Manager of Commercial Data Strategy at Hershey
Anyone can imagine that managing operations across 60 countries for a leading global brand demands efficient strategies. Delays in analysis and decision-making within this distributed network of data have the potential for huge financial losses. In this regard, even Chad Doremus pointed out that
“Until recently, we had many slow, disconnected, tribal data resources “People were using external hard drives and email to try to collaborate and stitch together reports. They were beefing up their laptops to speed up data processing. The same data sets were living in multiple places, which meant there were multiple versions of the truth.”
Solution for the big data problem
To overcome this challenge and power data-driven decisions in the operations and strategies, Harshey’s decided to build a Commercial Data Store (CDS). CDS was planned to create a single source of true information on commercial data for the entire company.
The key for Hershey’s was to be able to bring different data sets together so that people could easily share and analyze them. That was hard for them to do when their data platforms and reporting were handled by third-party vendors. With the help of this solution, Hershey aimed to speed up the process of delivering insights to executives and data and analytics to their field sales team.
In addition to the complexity of Hershey’s data environment, the company maintained separate data platforms to handle data for big players in retail customers.
The Big Data Solution itself: Databricks Lakehouse
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After strategizing for CDS, the first task for Hershey’s was to find a platform that is too sound technologically and user-friendly at the same time. For this purpose, the company looked for many potential solutions in the market, including a cloud data warehouse, but in the end decided to go with Databricks Lakehouse Platform to solve the Big data problem.
Want to know, what is Databricks? Click here
We always try to innovate and be open to new technology at Hershey. If it’s a change that will significantly impact the way we do business, we’ll go for it. Databricks Lakehouse Platform was the right solution for our needs.”
Jordan Donmoyer, Manager, Customer Data Solutions, at Hershey.
Hershey also sought the right technology partner to support their CDS project. Based on recommendations from third-party vendors, Hershey’s engaged with Advancing Analytics to build the foundation of their CDS platform based on the Databricks platform. Advancing Analytics used its Hydr8 framework to reduce the time needed to get CDS up and running and solve the big data problem.
“By working with Advancing Analytics, we not only connected with the new retailer platform, but also provided our business team with more value than they had had before,”
“Until that point, we had been at a standstill with data with our largest retailer. The CDS platform, built on Databricks technology, sets us up for the future and has been transformational for our company. We’ve arrived at the next level of how to model data, serve it up and make it useable for the business team.”
Now All of Hershey’s commercial data reporting is entirely based on Databricks SQL. For visualizing data through interactive dashboards Hershey’s uses Tableau and PowerBI. Rather than serving up canned spreadsheet reports, Hershey is now empowering their decision-makers to visualize and easily interact with data.
Earlier the sales team was used to receiving multiple emails on manually created spreadsheets full of data but now they can see a top-line report that includes various data sets, enriched with other internal Hershey data, to get the KPIs that are important to them and make sales related decisions on their own.
Even it became easy for data scientists to connect with the data source. Databricks also made it easy for them to build live connections and data models behind the scenes so that everyone could get the data they needed without manual work.
What has Hershey’s achieved with this Big Data solution?
Cost avoidance: With the help of enhanced data capabilities by DataBricks, Hershey’s can identify and address potential costs before they become actual expenditures. This involves process optimization, streamlining of operations, or identifying inefficiencies that, if left unaddressed, could result in financial losses.
Risk Mitigation: When we talk about finances and hundreds and thousands of crores are involved, there is always a risk. Improved data capabilities help Hershey’s to identify, assess, and mitigate these risks effectively. This involves predictive analysis to identify, assess, and mitigate these risks to minimize investment exposures.
Efficiency Overhaul: The increased data capabilities helped Hershey’s to save thousands of hours of resources that were just involved in analyzing and creating reports by collecting data from multiple resources manually.
Along with that, Hershey’s also achieved gains in the efficiency of the employees, improvement in the accuracy of data and decision-making, task completion in dedicated deadlines, and optimum utilization of resources for data related to tasks so that the resources can be involved more and more in innovation strategies.
Empowering Business Users: With the help of this solution, Hershey’s provided tools, training, and other resources to its business users so that they can be better equipped to leverage data and decision-making in their respective departments.
Cross-Departmental Impact: If we talk about a giant like Hershey’s, any task can not be confined to a single team or function; rather, it’s a widespread initiative that touches various facets of the business. The solution of Big Data helped Hershey’s to create a massive cross-departmental impact.
Collaborative Synergy: Hershey’s achieved the empowerment of a diverse range of users—both business and IT—across multiple departments. This holistic approach aims to create a collaborative and proficient workforce, enhancing the overall operational capacity of the organization.
These are some of the achievements that Hershey’s achieved with the help of using Big Data solutions.