Online food ordering company Graze sees the analysis of the firm's ever-growing data warehouse as central to its goal of becoming the world's number one healthy food company.
Co-founder and CTO of Graze, Edd Read, told delegates at the Rackspace Solve 2016 event in London about this mission, joking that much of his job now involves fixing problems created when the company started.
The site has grown in size and scope since launching in 2008 and is hugely popular across the UK. Read explained that data is key to continue on this growth as it enables Graze to fully understand customers' needs and ordering patterns.
"Graze is built on a data-fuelled culture. We get 15,000 ratings [of Graze's products] per hour from social media, sales data and third-party loyalty cards like Nectar," he said.
This information is then stored in the Amazon Redshift data warehouse where it can be analysed to spot sales trends and help to identify new product opportunities.
Everyone in the company has access to the data in this warehouse, Read said, underlining the importance of making sure such information is widely available and not siloed away.
Graze's factory is flooded with Internet of Things sensors to monitor food and packaging production, with the goal of controlling quality and becoming more efficient.
The infrastructure underpinning this data generation and analysis is all hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
"The infrastructure has been on AWS since day one. We were born in the cloud. In 2008 it was all S3 instances with a console, and we treated it like a bunch of virtual machines. In the last couple of years we've embraced more of a cloud style, pushing into managed services," said Read.
Graze has also begun implementing a DevOps culture in its technology teams. "We're embracing the DevOps culture because I'd rather the engineers accelerated innovation than focused on things like security," he explained.
Security and helpdesk support will be provided by Rackspace, which signed a deal with Graze in February.
"I want my team to spend time doing fun things rather than on infrastructure. Rackspace is like an extension of our IT team," said Read.
The importance of data in the retail sector is increasingly evident. Waitrose recently began a major storage overhaul to speed up its data analytics capabilities.
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