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Fahrrad XXL adopted Snowflake together with taod and Y42 and reduced the time to generate their management report from 2 months to 1 day.

Key takeaways

  • Transitioning to Cloud-Based Data Management: The bike retailer Fahrrad XXL decided to move to the Cloud after recognizing the limitations of its existing manual and ad hoc reporting methods. Their partners and solutions of choice were taod and Y42.
  • Overcoming Historical Data Challenges: Historically grown, each subsidiary had its own data sources and metric definitions making their reconciliation a challenge. Taod and Y42 managed to integrate and harmonize those, ultimately establishing a single source of truth.
  • Enabling Real-Time Insights and Strategic Decisions: With the new data architecture and tools, Fahrrad-XXL significantly reduced the time required to generate critical management reports from two months to daily updates, effectively cutting the time-to-insight by more than 90%.

A multichannel bike retailer with large growth ambitions

Fahrrad-XXL is a retail- and e-commerce platform that delivers a wide range of bicycles, e-bikes, bicycle accessories, and fitness equipment. In 15 nationwide bike stores and an online shop, Fahrrad XXL offers an assortment consisting of over 100,000 bicycles from more than 40 quality brands and exclusive proprietary brands. The company was founded in 2006 and is a merger of independent dealerships.

The company is planning to grow ambitiously. However, it lacks real-time visibility into crucial metrics to make necessary investments. An example of that is the management report - a consolidated view of inventory-, order-, and revenue metrics to drive strategic purchase decisions. Not having that information at hand is actively leaving growth opportunities untapped

Moving from manual- and ad hoc reporting to the Cloud

Given the company's history, some subsidiary dealerships have differently structured data sources and metric definitions, making their reconciliation harder. Generating a holistic view across the entire group takes around 2 months and is mostly commissioned on an ad hoc basis when critical business decisions need to be made. The typical setup includes SQL Server Management Studio and Microsoft Excel and is error-prone due to the required manual reconciliation efforts.

The companies’ data organization is decentralized and spread across the subsidiaries. In order to level up its insight generation process, the company decides to hire Eric Leddin as its Head of Data to professionalize its data setup and help the company move to the Cloud. After joining the company, Eric took the decision to implement the Snowflake Data Cloud, work with the data consultancy taod to set up the overall data architecture, and implement the Turnkey Data Orchestrator Y42, setting its company up for success.

When choosing the right set of tools for your cloud data stack, you can’t go wrong with Snowflake and Y42. It just works!

Sönke Maibach, Data Engineer at taod

Overcoming historically grown obstacles and establishing a solid data foundation centered around the Data Cloud

Fahrrad XXL was facing three core challenges that the chosen tooling- and partner setup should address:

  1. Ingesting data from both on-premise and restrictive cloud-based sources onto Snowflake

Challenge: Given the historical context of Fahrrad XXL, the different subsidiaries were using different source systems, some on-premise (MS Dynamics Navision), some cloud-based (MS Dynamics 365). Each subsidiary provided an additional data source to be integrated on Snowflake. Next to integrating the on-premise and cloud connectors, the cloud-based MS Dynamics 365 source integration has gotten much harder overnight with Microsoft deciding to deprecate its Azure SQL DB connection requiring alternative ways to set up the connection.

Solution: For the on-premise MS Dynamics Navision connector, Y42 and taod set up a connection via an SSH bastion to ingest data into Snowflake. For the cloud-based MS Dynamics 365 connector, taod worked out a custom data architecture establishing a data flow to Snowflake, leveraging Y42's native data warehouse connector in the last step.

  1. Reconciling of key metrics across subsidiaries

Challenge: Given the historical context of Fahrrad XXL, the different subsidiaries were calculating some metrics differently than the others. It is often the case that seemingly similar metrics are calculated differently between entities so that the challenge emerges to harmonize those definitions into one. For Fahrrad XXL, one such metric was “inventory in EUR” which was ingested from two subsidiary systems, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Dynamics Navision, and thus calculated differently as the data models of the underlying source systems had different definitions. Another case was the booking date which would either be the invoice date or the delivery date, based on the subsidiary we were talking about.

Solution: Fahrrad XXL embraced a modular data transformation approach with which differing metrics from different source systems could be harmonized. Managing dependencies and scheduling those modular data transformations could be achieved through Y42 which taod implemented according to best practices.

  1. Improving data quality and overall visibility of data flows

Challenge: Coming from a world of ad hoc SQL queries and spreadsheets, putting the right guardrails in place to minimize the likelihood of erroneous entries and properly understanding data flows from source system to BI report was a desirable objective.

Solution: Taod chose a modular data transformation approach leveraging Y42’s modeling capability restricting access to data developers so that erroneous entries are prevented from happening. Also, through Y42’s lineage capability, both taod and Fahrrad XXL could gain end-to-end visibility into all data flows from source system to final report simplifying troubleshooting and instilling trust in other stakeholders by being able to easily explain the inner workings of their final dashboard products.

A lot of consultants who are used to PowerBI appreciate Y42’s data lineage to understand data flows end-to-end. I also feel comfortable handing Y42 setups over to junior data teams showing them how easy it is to set up and maintain data pipelines. One of Y42’s biggest strengths is user acceptability.

Sönke Maibach, Data Engineer at taod

After implementing Y42 with taod, Fahrrad XXL established a single source of truth on Snowflake feeding its most critical source systems onto the data warehouse creating and updating key metrics for downstream consumption on PowerBI:

Fahrrad XXL Architecture (after implementing Y42)

“Y42 powers our most crucial reports that will help us double our revenue in the coming years”

Eric Leddin, Chief Digital Officer at Fahrrad XXL

Power strategic decisions and enabling further extensions

With the combination of Snowflake, taod, and Y42, Fahrrad XXL found a winning combination to fuel its ambitious growth plans with a solid, real-time reporting setup. The management report that has historically been generated on an ad hoc basis in 2 months is now updated daily, thereby cutting the time-to-insight by more than 90%.

Now, Fahrrad XXL has a solid foundation to make strategic and data-driven investments, also being able to further extend its data capabilities by predictive analytics and other data use cases.



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