How fresh data can drive better decision-making

Carrefour franchisee Majid Al Futtaim boosts agility with IBM data warehouse and analytics solution
by Ryan Bertrand
6-minute read
Customer inspects packaged produce

Majid Al Futtaim is the United Arab Emirates-based organization that introduced Carrefour, the French grocery retailer, to the region in 1995. As franchisee for the Carrefour brand, Majid Al Futtaim Retail operates around 450 Carrefour locations in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The stores serve more than 750,000 customers every day and employ more than 37,000 team members.

Shopping patterns and purchasing behaviors are very different in the UAE than anywhere else in the world. Demand comes from a mix of consumers representing many nationalities and the company cannot stereotype consumers to link nationalities with item assortments. This strategy is no longer effective in the region.

To fuel data driven decisions, Majid Al Futtaim Retail had an existing on-premises data warehouse and analytics solution. But the solution required too much manual intervention to operate. SQL script coding was too slow to stay ahead of growing data demands and market complexity, especially after Carrefour launched a new customer loyalty program and nearly doubled its regional locations.

Family chooses fresh produce in store

Data driven decisions make an impact in the marketplace

2x

faster than previous methods

Requests for operational data processed

3x

faster than previous methods to support faster decision making

The IBM solution met all the company’s current needs, as well as future requirements. It simplified data and analytics platform architecture and provided a unified data hub for advanced analytics and data model development with built-in governance capabilities.

Majid Al Futtaim experienced a 300% growth in the volume of data between 2015 and 2019. During the same time, the rate of customer transactions increased significantly and the number of Carrefour store locations tripled.

With a complex network of back-end systems and market variations, Majid Al Futtaim needed a data warehouse and analytics solution that is sustainable and can answer an evolving range of questions posed by business managers. The company recognized that, to stay ahead of its competitors, its decision making had to be data driven.

Employee displays tomatoes in produce section
Mother and two children shop in dessert case
IBM worked closely with Majid Al Futtaim Retail to implement the full solution and ensure a smooth migration. In addition, the IBM team achieved successful deployment even though they worked remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.
A faster path to market
IBM worked closely with Majid Al Futtaim Retail to implement the full solution and ensure a smooth migration. In addition, the IBM team achieved successful deployment even though they worked remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Majid Al Futtaim Retail started planning a solution that would be developed by its own internal data engineering team, and considered developing a technical team to build, run and maintain the new data warehouse. The initial plan involved building a custom solution with on-staff data engineers. But after management considered the number of resources that would be required to develop a comprehensive data warehouse solution, the company opted instead to modernize its analytics and data warehouse platform.

Five vendors, including IBM, were initially invited to provide a proof-of-concept (POC) for data warehouse solutions. Working to meet an extremely tight deadline, the regional IBM team, including IBM developers and retail industry specialists, delivered a POC proposal that met all of Majid Al Futtaim’s requirements.

The POC was based on the IBM® Netezza® Performance Server data warehouse and analytics platform, which enabled deployment on on-premises servers and on cloud services. By providing tuned and preconfigured hardware and software, IBM was able to deliver a hybrid cloud solution that could not be matched by the other vendors.

The results of the POC were clear to the managers of Majid Al Futtaim Retail. The IBM solution met all the company’s current needs, as well as future requirements. It simplified data and analytics platform architecture and provided a unified data hub for advanced analytics and data model development with built-in governance capabilities.

Taking full responsibility for all the hardware and software components, IBM worked closely with Majid Al Futtaim Retail to implement the full solution and ensure a smooth migration. In addition, the IBM team achieved successful deployment even though they worked remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, with no impact to business processes.

A clearer view of the business

By operating a high-performance data warehouse system, Majid Al Futtaim Retail is able to reach its stakeholders much faster through improved data decision capabilities. The firm has also evolved on data monetization initiatives.

The IBM Netezza Performance Server solution helps ensure that the data platform operated by Majid Al Futtaim Retail is fast, scalable and standardized across business units. The platform is also ready for the next generation of data analysis and AI and provides the company’s single version of truth for all Carrefour-related data.

Now, Majid Al Futtaim Retail can focus more on advanced analytics and less on managing data. The company can define scenarios with a fail-fast mechanism, use data science tools to quickly evaluate the models and ultimately get to market much faster. The turnaround time for responding to business requests has improved by 100%, enabling the integration of new data sets at much faster speeds.

Majid Al Futtaim logo
About Majid Al Futtaim - Carrefour

Based in the UAE, Majid Al FuttaimExternal Link is an Emirati holding company that brought French grocer Carrefour S.A. to the region in 1995 and now holds the franchise rights to operate the brand in over 30 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Majid Al Futtaim Retail today operates almost 450 Carrefour stores in 16 countries, serving more than 750,000 customers daily and employing over 37,000 people.

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Majid Al Futtaim logo
About Majid Al Futtaim - Carrefour

Based in the UAE, Majid Al FuttaimExternal Link is an Emirati holding company that brought French grocer Carrefour S.A. to the region in 1995 and now holds the franchise rights to operate the brand in over 30 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Majid Al Futtaim Retail today operates almost450 Carrefour stores in 16 countries, serving more than 750,000 customers daily and employing over 37,000 people.

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