Crayon used AWS services to build a business intelligence system that helps UppLab make better decisions and improve its data-driven marketing. The start-up uses this to better tailor its offering to customers and to create sales reports to keep investors informed. Instead of manually loading data and running analysis, everything happens automatically and staff use simple dashboards to find the information they need.
Crayon and AWS Deliver Smarter Business Intelligence for UppLab
UppLab is a German ecommerce start-up selling nutrition and vitamin supplements both directly to consumers via its vitasation website and through a retail channel. The challenge for the company, like many startups, was that its rapid growth had led to equally rapid technology decisions that resulted in a varied technology estate. This led to a technology infrastructure with high management overheads that required a great deal of manual processing. Critically, it also left UppLab struggling to access useful sales and customer data. To alleviate these problems UppLab turned to Crayon Germany, an AWS Advanced Partner offering consulting services, to overhaul and improve its systems.
“We can see revenue per customer, and new versus existing customers, so we can quickly see how our marketing is working and where to focus efforts. And it all just works automatically.”
- Serkan Kurnaz, Chief Operation Officer, UppLab
Reaching Better Business Intelligence
During the proof-of-concept phase it became clear that while UppLab did have a business intelligence (BI) system, it required a lot of manual work to input data or to get useable information or analysis out again. Data had to be exported via Excel, and the system provided very little in the way of visualization. “The BI system was very limited and couldn’t do some quite basic stuff like differentiate between new and existing customers, for instance,” says Serkan Kurnaz, Chief Operations Officer at UppLab. “Now we can see that immediately on a dashboard. It shows revenue per customer and ‘new’ versus ‘existing’ customers, so we can quickly see how our marketing is working and where to focus efforts. And it all just works automatically.” Serkan says the system also saves him several hours a week by creating the sales and revenue reports he needs to provide to the firm’s investors, something he previously had to do manually every Monday morning. The previous system cost about $450 a month to create the reports, on AWS it is costing less than $30.
From Reactive to Strategic Technology Decision Making
Because of budget and time limitations during the early growth phase, UppLab had a reactive rather than strategic technology approach. It relied on lots of different systems to run internal communications and collaboration, its supply chain, and its customer database. Because the company is anticipating rapid, future growth, it needed to act fast to ensure it had scalable and reliable systems in place to provide accurate data, improve decision making and manage inventory control. The first task when UppLab began working with Crayon was to assess what tools were being used and create some order. The second priority was to decide what to keep and what to lose. The two companies worked to create a priority list of what services needed to be migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS). An easy early win was to rationalize document storage, which was split between several different services, and move it all on to Amazon WorkDocs. Crayon then worked to automate data synchronization between the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) in order to provide a better business intelligence function. Using the combination of Amazon Athena and Amazon Quicksight allowed them to easily conduct data analysis and construct dashboards so that staff could access relevant data quickly and get accurate insights to enable better decision making. Crayon also migrated UppLab’s internal communications and customer relationship management (CRM) systems onto AWS.
UppLab now has a serverless AWS native infrastructure that can quickly and easily scale as demand increases. It has better insight into its sales and customer data by using the full potential of Quicksight’s analysis capabilities and interactive dashboarding. It is also beginning to experiment with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to personalize its website to improve conversion rates and increase sales. It’s also investigating how ML can improve the efficiency of its supply chain management. Systems are now much easier for staff to use, work together with far less manual intervention, and provide a better service for UppLab’s customers.
Artificial Intelligence for Personalized Supplements
UppLab can now easily access the data it needs to see clearly how customers are reacting to new products or marketing campaigns. It also has big plans for the future. The company is planning to use AI to follow trends in sales of micronutrients and other supplements, so it is able to predict increases in interest for certain products or ingredients and have products ready to market and in stock to keep pace with demand. This will include data from its own sales history, but also from the market more broadly. “We can use AI to see if a certain ingredient or micronutrient is trending to inform our product creation, and also to improve purchasing and stock level decisions,” Serkan says.
UppLab also has bold ambitions to use AI to create a whole new class of highly personalized supplements for its customers. Based on what customers want from their supplements—more energy, better sleep, weight loss or more mental focus—UppLab will use AI to help create a personalized supplement package for each customer. The company will also offer blood and microbiome tests so that its supplements can be completely tailored to the individual customer.
Crayon helps customers build the commercial and technical foundation for a successful and secure digital transformation journey. It provides guidance on the best solutions for customers’ business needs and budget to thrive and innovate with software, cloud, AI, and big data. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Crayon has over 2,000 employees across more than 50 locations worldwide.
Published September 2021