Tuesday, 28 July 2020 13:18

RipCurl surfs the data transformation wave with Microsoft Featured

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Surfware company RipCurl has worked with software behemoth Microsoft to use its hybrid data integration solution Azure Data Factory to handle the extract, transform, load (ETL) processes required to transition from Rip Curl’s previous on-premises platforms to Azure, which houses the company's data warehouse.

Microsoft says it is supporting RipCurl to build a cloud-based data warehouse that provides a single source of intelligence for the business.

And according to Micfrosoft, some key benefits of the data warehouse include:

  • RipCurl now has a singular view of key customer drivers
  • Understanding of product performance through a consistent, real-time platform
  • Better inventory management across stores
  • A look into retail trends and statistics and how this is affecting Australia.

RipCurl Lead BI architect Stuart Connell said that while some of its old systems don't work with the new platform, "Microsoft has a solution".

“That was the best decision we made – 100 percent Microsoft architecture.

"We do have some tricky old 32-bit systems that don’t work within the [new] platform, but [our partner] always has a solution,” Connell said.

"So we’ve got a virtual machine that sits inside the architecture where we use some open source Python scripts to connect to some of the more tricky infrastructure and do our ETL that way”
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As stores reopened across the country, Rip Curl staff have utilised the software to help them manage their stores and inventory.

Microsoft says the wisdom of moving to the cloud was thrown into sharp relief during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The iconic Rip Curl Pro surfing competition at Bells Beach in Victoria was postponed in early 2020. Now the focus is on growth supported by intelligent analytics.

“While the company has performed some cube-based analytics, ultimately Rip Curl wants to use Power BI to handle all its data analysis.

“And the data collection available for analysis continues to grow. Rip Curl is currently tackling data integration to its point of sale information and to retail store door counters which will give it much more granular insights about who is buying what and when.

“It’s a key part of the business that’s only going to grow over the next five to 10 years,” says Connell who Microsoft says is focussed on accelerating the pace at which information reaches key decision makers to drive greater efficiencies."

“BI has transformed the way we operate. We now have a singular view of key customer drivers and understanding of product performance across a consistent real-time platform from in store to head office,” said Lachlan Farran, Rip Curl Group GM of Retail and Operations.

As COVID related restrictions eased and stores started opening again store managers have been able to use Power BI to get up to the minute information to help manage shops and inventory.

Microsoft says that as the data warehouse links Rip Curl’s eCommerce system and image database, managers can even see an image of the wetsuits or T-shirts that people are buying rather than just bald SKUs and sales figures which can be harder to interpret.

"That visual component allows managers to work out where to locate stock, and because wholesale and retail systems are integrated, Power BI can also generate a delivery report so that store staff can see images of what is being delivered in each box and carton."

“That’s great because we have a casual workforce and people have been with the business varying lengths of time. To come into the business, pick up that screen, see what’s expected in the box and check it off, is something that I see a lot of demand for from the business,” says Connell.

Initially around 200 people had access to Power BI but Connell says that Rip Curl has expanded its licence to cover the whole organisation, with data access on a need-to-know basis.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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