William Reed provides market-leading business information to businesses in the food, drink, hospitality and retail sectors. Lumina Intelligence is the insights division of William Reed which inspires the food and drink industry with deep, actionable insights. Its products and services are used by brands and organisations in these fast moving and growing markets to support business planning, strategic marketing and new product development.
Until recently, data was assembled in Excel spreadsheets and shared with clients via PowerPoint presentations, but growing demand from different types of data users within client organisations called for more advanced dashboards and reporting.
“Our objective is to make sure our insight products get used. We realised we needed a flexible solution with a lot of different formats to do that,” explained Marie Hense, Data & Product Strategy Director at Lumina Intelligence.
Lumina went through an exhaustive evaluation of BI products, including some market-leading and well-known tools, before choosing the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform as the best-fit solution. Two features stood out, according to Hense: Pyramid’s user-friendliness and its rich modeling functionality.
Having self-service dashboards that were easy to use was imperative because William Reed makes insights directly available to hundreds of clients via Lumina’s cloud platform. The look and feel of the Pyramid Platform interface has a deep and historical synergy with Microsoft, which the Lumina data team saw as an advantage in driving user adoption.
“Pyramid’s Discover and Present modules have a similar functionality to Office modules like PowerPoint and Excel, which we felt would make it easier for our clients and our internal people to use,” said Hense.
The ease of use extended to creating data models. Within weeks of implementing the Pyramid Platform, members of the team with no engineering background were able to quickly turn models into dashboards, accelerating the journey from data to insights.
The infrastructure enables a “fail fast approach,” which was particularly important for survey data that is complicated to work with. Instead of building a process in a data warehouse only to see it fail, Lumina trials things quickly in Pyramid’s modeling function before going into full production.
Pyramid licenses are distributed across power users in Lumina and William Reed’s commercial team. Pyramid also measures pyramid usage, and constantly evaluated to make sure it delivers the best possible value, internally as well as for clients.
William Reed is on a journey to democratise data with Pyramid making it possible to present dashboards and reports in the right format for everyone, from data scientists to CEOs. “Pyramid’s modeling function was absolutely key for us to progress as quickly as we did in getting the data structure right,” said Marie Hense. “It’s the foundation for everything we’ve been doing and allowed us to get to where we are.”
Being able to integrate steps in the modeling function enables more agile innovation and accelerates the time it takes to make data from diverse sources digestible for more people. Database administrators have got to know what data structures work for certain types of analysis and are able to build prototypes in Pyramid to test them out.
The problem for William Reed had been less about the volume of data than finding ways to manipulate disparate sources for maximum insight. The complexity of making survey data meaningful and representative was particularly challenging. “In the past, pulling out the data and putting it into PowerPoint was painful and not very efficient. Now it’s automated with dashboards in Pyramid and we’re saving ourselves a considerable amount of time” Hense said.
She praised the Pyramid team for always “having technical expertise on the other end of the line”. The biggest benefit, however, has been the halo effect, the way Pyramid’s advanced BI has become a market differentiator, setting William Reed apart from its competitors, resulting in Lumina Intelligence and Pyramid Analytics being shortlisted for the Best Data Solution award at the Market Research Society Operations Awards 2021.
The ultimate accolade is when a service becomes integral to the way a client works, according to Hense: “Because we provide good data that is easy to use, it gets integrated into day-to-day operations. That’s when our products become indispensable, which is what every company wants.”
In the past, pulling out the data and putting it into PowerPoint was painful and not very efficient. Now it’s automated with dashboards in Pyramid and we’re saving a considerable amount of time.