AWS Big Data Blog
Green Flag uses Amazon QuickSight to democratize data and enable self-serve insights to all employees
This is a guest post by Jeremy Bristow, Head of Product at Green Flag.
In the US, there’s a saying: “Sooner or later, you’ll break down and call Triple A.” In the UK, that same saying might be “Sooner or later, you’ll break down and call Green Flag.”
Green Flag has been assisting stranded motorists all over Europe for more than 50 years. Having started in the UK in 1971, with the first office located above a fish and chip shop, we have built an expansive network of automobile service providers to assist customers. With that network in place, Green Flag customers need only make a single phone call, or request service via the Green Flag app, to quickly contact a local repair garage, no matter where they’ve broken down.
Green Flag’s commitment to providing world-class service to its customers has consistently earned a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of over 70. We were also recently rated as the top breakdown provider in the H1 2022 UK Customer Satisfaction Index report, which is a national benchmark of customer satisfaction covering 13 sectors and based on 45,000 customer responses.
Unlike most breakdown providers in the UK, Green Flag doesn’t currently own a large fleet of trucks to provide roadside assistance to our 3 million plus customers. Our established network of over 200 locally operated businesses provides in-depth knowledge and expertise related to their specific areas. Our overall mission is simple: “Make motoring stress-free, safe, and simple, for every driver.”
Tech transformation to democratize data
Over the past 4 years, Green Flag has been undertaking a technology transformation with the end goal of enabling data democratization and faster data-driven decisions. This has been a massive undertaking, requiring the business to replace our entire systems architecture, which we’ve done while remaining open 24/7, 365 days a year, maintaining our industry-leading customer service standards and growing the business. Building the plane while flying it is an apt analogy, but it felt more like performing open-heart surgery while running a marathon.
Early on during our tech transformation, we made the decision to develop natively with AWS, using our in-house development team. When it came time to decide on a new business intelligence (BI) tool, it was an easy decision to switch to Amazon QuickSight.
In this post, we discuss what influenced the decision to implement QuickSight and why doing so has made a significant impact on our efficiency and agility.
Changing the game with self-serve insights
Prior to embarking on this transformation, technology had consistently been a blocker to us being able to quickly serve our customers. Our old stack was slow, hard to change, and consistently prevented us from gaining valuable and timely insights from our datasets. We were data rich, but insight poor. It was clear that the status quo was not compatible with our ambitions to grow and trade in an increasingly digital world. We needed a BI tool to bring new and meaningful insights to our data, which would help us leverage our new technologies to deliver meaningful business change.
Although going with QuickSight was an easy decision, we considered the following factors to ensure our needs would be met:
- Alignment to AWS architecture – We didn’t want to invest time and development resources into complicated implementations—we wanted a seamless integration that would cause no headaches.
- Ease of use – We needed an intuitive, user-friendly interface that would make it easy for any user, no matter their tech background or level of expertise in pulling data insights.
- Cost – Affordability is always a concern. With AWS, we can monitor daily usage and the associated costs via our console, so there were never any surprises or hidden costs post-implementation.
Although these considerations were all top of mind, the primary driver for switching to QuickSight is rooted in the data democratization goal within our tech transformation initiative. Providing self-serve access to data and insights to everyone, no matter their tech background, has been a game changer. With QuickSight, we can now present data and insights in a meaningful, easy-to-understand format via near-real-time embedded dashboards that anyone from any tech background can easily build.
Evolving our data culture with QuickSight
Because all employees are now empowered to make data-driven decisions, our data culture has begun to evolve. Having consistent, accurate dashboards that access standardized datasets brings with it a new level of confidence in decision-making. We’re no longer wasting time on discussions about data sources or the risks of inaccuracy. QuickSight and the data governance processes we have built around its use have shifted the discussion to focus on the insights, what they tell us, and what our next steps should be.
The following screenshot shows one of Green Flag’s custom-built dashboards.
Additionally, because QuickSight is so easy to use that self-service requires minimal training and no specialized skills, our data experts can now shift from responding to constant requests for information to focusing on more valuable projects that require their technical depth and expertise. We can now work more efficiently, producing actionable insights that have never before been available, at a pace that enables us to make better decisions, faster.
Mapping our next analytics adventure
The next features that the Green Flag team plan to test and then roll out is Amazon QuickSight Q, which should allow both our data teams and business users to have a more frictionless experience with our data. The feature should enable users to interrogate complex data using simple conversational questions as if they were talking to a colleague, producing results that are then customizable. This will further empower our self-serve strategy by enabling non-technical experts to pose business questions rather than rely on technical expertise and experience.
To learn more about how you can embed customized data visuals, interactive dashboards, and natural language querying into any application, visit Amazon QuickSight Embedded.
About the Author
Jeremy “Jez” Bristow is Head of Product at Green Flag. He has been working at Green Flag, part of Direct Line Group, for over 4 years and has been co-responsible for delivering the digital transformation programme within Green Flag. They have built a cloud-based ecosystem of micro-services supported by a data platform within AWS to enable the delivery of better customer outcomes to grow their business.