How one e-commerce platform went from data mistrust to data confidence
Global Google Cloud Partner Team
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Since 2007, PrestaShop has helped companies unlock the power of e-commerce through its open-source platform. Over 300,000 merchants worldwide use the PrestaShop platform to grow their business and serve online shoppers.
"Our open-source strategy to ecommerce enablement sets us apart," says Rémi Paulin, Ph.D., Data Architect at PrestaShop. "Customization is becoming more crucial to retailers, and our open-source platform allows companies to continually evolve their sites and services to stand out from competitors."
As PrestaShop grew, it wished to derive more value from its data, but the company ran into issues caused by a legacy, siloed architecture that negatively impacted data consistency and accessibility.
Let's look at how PrestaShop works with Google Cloud and partners Fivetran and Hightouch to gain more control over data, enable a beyond-BI data strategy, and increase employee engagement from less than 10% to more than 40%.
Improving trust in data
Core systems at PrestaShop, including SQL and NoSQL databases, and SaaS Applications, were siloed; each presenting its own data, often captured from different sources such as support tickets, marketing engagement, purchase activity, and product usage. This setup made data overall inconsistent as no single system would contain a source of truth, resulting in many inefficiencies, poor collaboration across teams, and a reluctance to use data to support key decisions.
"Not long ago, less than 10% of the company regularly relied on data, so we were missing opportunities to make more data-driven decisions," says Paulin. "Data was underutilized, and people were rapidly losing trust in data."
PrestaShop set out to design a new architecture to address past challenges, such as lack of data consistency, and improve data accessibility.
"Google Cloud, along with Hightouch and Fivetran, allowed us to build a modern stack to solve these challenges and support our beyond-BI data strategy."
Building a modern data stack
The first step was to build a robust data ingestion pipeline. After considering several vendors, PrestaShop chose to work with Fivetran to extract data from SaaS applications, including Zendesk, HubSpot, and GitHub, to load into BigQuery. They also use Datastream to stream Change Data Capture (CDC) data from transactional databases into BigQuery in real-time.
"Fivetran and Datastream are no-ops, efficient and highly reliable, and relieve our Data Engineers of management tasks. This brings us a high degree of confidence to build the rest of the stack atop these services," says Paulin.
PrestaShop relies on several Google Cloud solutions, including Dataflow, and a managed Spark service by Ascend.io, for data transformation. It also uses Looker for its semantic modeling capacities and as a self-serve data platform.
As the company continued on its journey to transform how it manages and benefits from data, it engaged Hightouch to enable data accessibility through activation. Sitting on top of Looker, Hightouch unlocks all data models for operational intelligence. For example, in just a few days, the team built a customer knowledge model combining data from multiple sources and used Hightouch to sync data from the semantic layer to Zendesk via Reverse ETL. This allowed the care team to make more data-informed decisions, speeding up the time to resolve support tickets submitted through Zendesk by 33%.
"Hightouch feels like a natural extension of Looker and reinforces the position of the semantic data model as the single source of truth," says Paulin. "It powers a variety of Data Activation use cases, supporting our beyond-BI strategy by providing teams with access to data when and where they need it to improve everyday operations. This has a big impact on the company, bolstering employee trust in available data."
In less than six months, PrestaShop managed to get the entire data stack up and running, build over 30 data models and engage over 120 employees with a small team of only two Data Engineers.
"Data is now accessible to every stakeholder within the company, regardless of their technical abilities," says Paulin.
PrestaShop has already seen much progress in its shift to a more data-driven company and is excited to roll out more self-service intelligence capabilities in the future.
"Google Cloud drives home a culture of simplicity around our data stack, which is essential for us, especially given the small size of our engineering team," says Paulin. "Fivetran and Hightouch share this culture of simplicity. Together, they offer strong foundations to support our data needs."
Dashboards, which the company had always had an appetite for, are seamlessly created today. Before moving to Looker, a full-fledged dashboard would take an average of six weeks to develop. Now, it takes less than two days - and a simple dashboard can be created autonomously by business users in as little as 15 minutes.
Furthermore, data usage goes beyond dashboards. Thanks to Looker's self-service exploration capabilities, many stakeholders can now glean insights surrounding product issues and business opportunities. Thanks to Hightouch, teams can activate their data to make better and smarter operational decisions.
"This is a big leap forward and one of many to come as we continue to add new models, activate our data, and onboard more users," says Paulin. "Given our global reach and unique approach to e-commerce enablement, we know this is just the start of the great things we can accomplish with Google Cloud, Fivetran, and Hightouch."