Sedex and OpenCredo use Compute Engine to sustain a world-class CSR database

About Sedex

Sedex, a nonprofit membership organization established by a consortium of UK retailers in 2004, manages a data exchange for companies and suppliers operating across global supply chains and asked to meet CSR and ethical auditing requests. Sedex represents 16,000 corporate members, including WPP, Tesco, and Proctor & Gamble, and manages data for 37,000 suppliers around the globe.

Industries: Non-profit
Location: United Kingdom
Products: Compute Engine

About OpenCredo

OpenCredo was founded with a straightforward goal: to help its clients across a spectrum of industries to deliver mission-critical software solutions faster and more cost-effectively. To achieve this, OpenCredo brings impartial expertise across a wide range of technologies and a holistic pragmatic approach to the software development process.

Challenge:

  • Sedex, an industry leader in ethical data exchange management, needed to develop a system that could quickly analyze large volumes of information and be flexible enough to accommodate future integration of currently unspecified datasets

Solution:

  • OpenCredo, using Compute Engine and other technologies, devised and created a scalable self-service platform that could scrutinize datasets in real time while allowing Sedex to design and produce reports independently

Results:

  • A 40% cost savings through a world-class solution capable of evolving with the needs of the company and its customers

    Background

    Sustainability has become an accepted part of the corporate management paradigm. Practices in areas like social justice, environmental protection, and accountability are now par for the course for large organizations.

    Just as corporations need data to track profit growth, data is also needed to track corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals and to support ethical auditing requests. Enter Sedex, a nonprofit membership organization that manages an ethical-data exchange for 16,000 companies and 37,000 suppliers operating across the globe. With this exchange, Sedex helps reduce the burden on suppliers who are repeatedly asked to meet sustainability requests.

    Challenge

    Sedex's existing system faced some fundamental problems due to the skyrocketing number of suppliers using its data exchange. Built on a third-party platform (BI reporting applications running on Rackspace), the system was inflexible and difficult to amend, and as a result was unable to cope with the volume of data it needed to process.

    Sedex also had ambitions to upgrade its data platform to include additional sources of information and provide greater insights to its clients. For example, Sedex wanted to share relevant news articles with suppliers and at the same time improve its ability to scrutinize these multiple sources of data to better analyze trends.

    "Since we're a data platform provider, it's essential that we're perceived as best in class for CSR and compliance. Average will never be good enough," said José Copovi-King, Director of Products and Services at Sedex. "We wanted to move to the next level and offer Big Data services."

    Solution

    Sedex asked OpenCredo to devise and create a data-processing platform that used a range of open source technologies and was capable of meeting all of its requirements: managing, storing, analyzing, and disseminating huge volumes of data while being failure resilient.

    OpenCredo's solution combined Compute Engine, Cloud Load Balancing, and Cloud DNS with Hortonworks Data Platform, a completely open source technology. Google Cloud Platform offered the most cost-effective option, with more reliability and more broadband per pound. And Hortonworks made it easy to scale the data storage and computation needs to address increasing demands.

    In addition, to meet the expected level of performance for self-service data analysis and reporting by non-development users, a pipeline was built using Hive. Results of the Hive queries would be stored in a PostgreSQL database for access by existing reporting technologies.

    During a four-month period of collaboration, OpenCredo and Sedex refined and amended system requirements using Agile software development methods. OpenCredo's consultants also engaged in a skills-transfer process, empowering Sedex employees to operate the reporting system independently.

    infographic

    Results

    Sedex now possesses a sophisticated, industry-leading data processing platform, one that can evolve to meet the company's requirements over time. Sedex is able to manage multiple datasets, design its own reports, and handle made-to-order requests on demand. These capabilities have given the company a clear competitive advantage in the marketplace.

    The new Sedex solution can quickly produce (within milliseconds) complex yet digestible reports that compare data from a variety of sources, such as audit reports and self-assessment forms. Similar reports would have taken hours to produce previously, if they were possible at all. Overall, Sedex has experienced a 40% cost savings over their previous system.

    40% cost savings graphic

    Industry leaders

    "We have the ability to produce large datasets very quickly, and there are huge retailers in the US who could very well become clients just because of that," said José. "We have been running workshops to show off the new capabilities and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. This is a huge step change for retailers, and we are now out in front of the competition in the CSR environment."

    Flexible reporting

    The flexibility of the system allows Sedex to fulfill bespoke requests at short notice and has increased the value of the organization to its clients. Sedex can also produce industry reports, which hold their own commercial worth.

    Transparent development

    Sedex ensured that the platform fulfilled all its requirements by closely working with OpenCredo using Agile development methods. This approach allowed Sedex to constantly review and make amendments as the criteria changed.

    "With OpenCredo, we had complete confidence in the development process," said José. "We knew on a day-to-day basis how the project was performing—the management of reporting was very impressive, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. If we needed to amend the criteria, it was clear what the impact would be, and OpenCredo was able to accommodate that without any drama. They do agile very, very well."

    About Sedex

    Sedex, a nonprofit membership organization established by a consortium of UK retailers in 2004, manages a data exchange for companies and suppliers operating across global supply chains and asked to meet CSR and ethical auditing requests. Sedex represents 16,000 corporate members, including WPP, Tesco, and Proctor & Gamble, and manages data for 37,000 suppliers around the globe.

    Industries: Non-profit
    Location: United Kingdom

    About OpenCredo

    OpenCredo was founded with a straightforward goal: to help its clients across a spectrum of industries to deliver mission-critical software solutions faster and more cost-effectively. To achieve this, OpenCredo brings impartial expertise across a wide range of technologies and a holistic pragmatic approach to the software development process.

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