At Keboola, we believe that first and foremost data should be useful and accessible to anyone wanting to make better decisions. It shouldn’t be just be for a few analysts or data geeks. With this in mind, we always strive to find the right way to make decision-making easier at companies. We therefore look for the right people, who act as partners rather than just clients. They’ll help us promote data democratisation thanks to the the Keboola Connection. So, we search for people at companies who will act as partners rather than mere clients. Happily, we quickly found common ground with the guys from Bizz Treat, an important Keboola partner. Our partnership came exactly at the right time, when Slevomat started its journey towards making data-driven decisions.
Slevomat is the biggest discount portal based in the Czech Republic, where it has been operating since 2010. Today, the firm specialises in the experiences and holiday packages market. Last year, a new owner took charge, triggering many changes. To implement its new strategy and business goals, Slevomat realised that it would have to innovate its data work. Using data, it started making strategic and business decisions daily.
We talked to Slevomat’s CEO, Marie Havlickova (Chytilova), about what the path to a data-driven business in practice.
How did Slevomat work with data in the past? What service were you using?
We had developed data reporting internally and combined it with data exports to Excel spreadsheets. We didn’t use any external services. Our IT department created all the reports that we needed.
Why did you decide to move away from this system?
I’m sure that you can imagine how much work any change to the data processing system required. I’d say that routine business reporting overloaded our IT capacities so much that reporting even technically complicated the normal running of Slevomat. Consequently, such problems had a negative impact on all company departments.
You managed to continue with such an arrangement for many years. But what was the decisive factor or major problem that forced you to innovate?
Besides the workload I mentioned, which was becoming intolerable, the system just didn’t work in the way we needed. We found it almost impossible to get daily updated business overviews from all the Excel spreadsheets ‒ such work was too complex. What’s more, for our management decisions we often needed to combine data from different sources into a single overview – that was out of the question in the original system.
Another key factor was the need to keep track of what was helping our business on any given day and where we needed to put out fires. For example, we needed to monitor how sales staff were fulfilling sales quotas, at any level of detail, and in relation to the traffic on our site. Which vouchers were our bestsellers? What campaigns and sales channels were helping us the most? And how does each member of our sales staff contribute to the sales results? Getting rapid answers to all these questions used to involve needlessly painstaking work, and verged on the impossible.
What attracted you to Keboola when you were looking for an alternative?
What excited us most was the ability to integrate all data sources into a single point. This gave us a single data overview, and we can work with unlimited data parameter combinations. In addition, the flexibility of entering new requirements and of configuring reporting changes freed up a lot of our time. In short, business data is now readily available for our everyday business operations.
Was switching to the new system difficult?
Actually, it wasn’t. The speed of implementing Keboola Connection and the great job done by the Bizz Treat people really surprise me, and we launched in just weeks. I loved the very agile approach and that we avoided months of analysis. We just took a close but quick look at our business model. We got a tailor-made solution immediately. Everything ran smoothly, and our data work is now much simple.
The Slevomat people also got the hang of it very quickly. It’s a huge plus for them that they can measure progress against the business plan. They can immediately see if they’re in line with it. And if not, it’s easy to decide how to fix this.
What’s more, all the information about the plan implementation is available to the whole company, so everyone can see how well they’re doing compared to their co-workers, whenever they want. Everyone can see this data. At first, I worried about publishing each person’s results, it has proved to be a great motivator. No one wants to be last, but colleagues were helping each other to do a good job. Data helps not only top management but also every member of the sales team, making it possible for them to improve their work every day.
What did you expect of Keboola Connection from a business perspective?
It’s simple. Introducing a new way of working with data and reporting has helped us to increase sales by 23% thanks to our sales staff selling 34% more vouchers than before. By seeing up-to-date data, you can better evaluate the company-wide KPIs and also your own personal target achievements.
I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that data helps us to improve and speed up our day-to-day business and strategic decisions. And that in turn helps us to stay a step ahead of our rivals and maintain our market lead in experiences and city and country break holidays.
Thanks for the inspiring conversation. We hope that you continue to easily meet and exceed your targets in the future!