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How Good Food Holdings Used Data and Analytics on AWS to Better Understand Its Business

Executive Summary

Good Food Holdings (GFH), the holding company for five premium grocery store brands including Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms, New Seasons Market, Metropolitan Market and New Leaf Community Markets, needed a unified view of all brands to obtain deeper insights into operations. To address this issue, GFH first partnered with multiple third-party analytics and data syndication providers. GFH then approached Mission Cloud for support in architecting a solution to collect and prepare the data to be ingested by the analytics platform. Mission Cloud's solution involved developing materialized views that could be fed into GFH’s third-party analytics providers.

This project faced additional obstacles because of the diverse set of data sources from multiple legacy systems, the complexity associated with data fitting issues and multiple changes in requirements. Throughout, Mission Cloud kept strong communication with regular executive-level, project-status and technical meetings.

Mission Cloud’s work helped GFH obtain a broader view of its operations and deeper insights into business practices. GFH gained the ability to sync data with other analytics providers, enabling the company to personalize its offerings and grow revenue.

Background: From Foundational Work to Migration

Good Food Holdings (GFH) is the holding company for five grocery store brands including Lazy Acres Bristol Farms, New Seasons Mart, Met Market and New Leaf. The company had a long and valuable partnership with Mission Cloud, which included leveraging a broad set of services. This included targeted architectural work through data foundation and the AWS Security Best Practices framework, as well as managed services with Mission Cloud Foundation. 

GFH had a history of success with leveraging Mission Cloud’s AWS expertise to complement and mature its operations.

Challenge: Dynamic Requirements for Deeper Insights

GFH relied on multiple data and analytics channels to gauge performance across each of its five brands. This setup created slow, complicated reporting processes that didn’t necessarily reflect actual performance.

The company needed to have a unified view of its operations to get deeper insights into its stores. GFH decided to partner with a grocery-focused third-party analytics provider. This required architecting a solution for collecting and preparing data from on-premises to be ingested by the analytics platform.

GFH also faced data fitting issues, along with a complex set of business rules making sure that data from each brand was integrated and organized consistently. Because of the project’s complexity, the customer experienced multiple additions and changes in requirements, which required the timeline to be re-forecasted to set clear expectations with the stakeholders and project team.

Solution: Materialized Views for 3rd-Party Analytics

Mission Cloud’s solution included developing materialized views that could be fed into GFH’s third-party analytics providers. It was critical that Mission Cloud and GFH were transparent around expectations, timelines, budgets and other considerations for the data migration process. They needed regular, proactive communication to prepare for the project and identify potential risks and budget issues. 

To encourage two-way communication, Mission Cloud held biweekly executive summary meetings with GFH leadership and weekly project status meetings to review key metrics of success. Because this was an extensive and complex project, Mission Cloud also worked directly with leadership at each of the company’s core holdings. This close contact and collaboration ensured that Mission Cloud identified and considered each chain’s unique needs and perspectives throughout the project.

Additionally, Mission Cloud held two meetings per week for technical working sessions, which included opportunities for open discussion and offered visibility into the project’s progression. 

During the development phase, GFH identified additional changes for the data migration project. Mission Cloud worked closely with GFH to incorporate these changes into the project plan. While these changes required adjustments to already completed development work, they didn’t impact the scope of the project.

Results: Better Visibility Into and Understanding of the Business

“Mission Cloud’s wide range of services has given us the flexibility to leverage their deep AWS expertise on various projects and support services, simplifying our interaction and making Mission Cloud the ‘Swiss Army knife’ of our partner community,” Jim Bahrenburg, CIO.

Since the data migration, GFH has gained a broader view of its operations and deeper insights into business practices. For example, GFH can now analyze how pricing models perform differently across different chains. While the materialized views from Mission Cloud provide more information and capabilities, they retain the benefits GFH enjoyed with previous analytics tools. 

Mission Cloud has delivered these materialized views for the first two brands. Follow-up work for the third brand is progressing much faster because of the applied learnings. “Mission Cloud has done a great job bringing additional stability to the environment and shifting their focus depending on the support prioritization we provide monthly,” Jim Bahrenburg, CIO.

These materialized views weren’t limited to grocery analytics. GFH also used Mission Cloud’s work to sync data with other analytics providers to better understand their business and their customers, and their growing e-commerce channel. GFH is also further leveraging the work done as a foundation to build out their internal reporting and analytical capabilities.

GFH praised Mission Cloud’s ability to manage the teams and budget while addressing multiple requirement changes. Because of the scale and complexity of the project, 16 people across Mission Cloud and GFH were involved. This allowed valuable representation and input from every division, kept leadership updated and involved, and moved the project along. 

Mission Cloud’s transparency, flexibility and customer-obsessed approach, combined with GFH’s frequent communication and adaptability, made this a successful engagement. 

“Over the past 18 months, Mission Cloud has responded quickly and effectively to all of our requests,” said Jim Bahrenburg, CIO. “We look forward to our continued partnership and further leveraging their ever-expanding set of tools and services available.”

AWS Services Used

During the engagement with Mission Cloud, GFH leveraged more than 20 powerful AWS services to get deeper insights into the business and optimize operations. These are the AWS services GFH used during the project to help drive optimal performance.

  • EC2
  • EBS
  • S3
  • Glacier
  • RDS
  • Redshift
  • Amazon WorkSpaces
  • Lambda
  • DynamoDB
  • Virtual Private Cloud
  • WAF
  • EKS
  • FSx
  • EKS
  • ECR
  • CloudFront
  • EFS
  • QuickSight
  • Elasticsearch
  • Glue
  • CodeBuild