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Patties Foods preps for market expansion with a faster, more flexible BI platform
“Patties Foods has a commanding lead in the Australian packaged pastry market, but as it set its sights on a more diversified product offering, the company needed faster, more flexible, more cost-effective business intelligence. By using Microsoft Azure data services with the support of TimeXtender, the company has the foundations of a world-class data warehouse. With its newly built capacity to turn information into decision-making power, Patties Foods is now equipped to use insights to continue growing with confidence.
“We operate in a fast-paced environment. As we expand, our BI technologies need to adapt to meet new challenges and opportunities. With Azure and TimeXtender, we’re ready for anything that comes our way.”
Tam Ta: BI Analytics Lead
Since 1966, Patties Foods has served sweet and savory pastries across Australia, steadily expanding its market share bite by bite. Today, it commands almost 80 percent of its home country’s domestic pie and pastry market.
However, Patties Foods was built on an adventurous, entrepreneurial spirit. The company determined that the time had come to diversify its line and include other regions among its customers. But like a lot about the country itself, Australian savory pies are distinct. Patties Foods recognized that introducing its products to other cultures might not be straightforward and would require careful, data-driven planning.
“In the United States, for example, pies are very different,” says Tam Ta, BI Analytics Lead at Patties Foods. “We reshaped our pies from round to rectangular to help make it clear to US shoppers that this was a savory product, not a sweet dessert.”
To make scores of product decisions like this across multiple markets, Patties Foods has to make sure that the right people always have the data they need. Tam and his team set out to update the Patties Foods business intelligence (BI) platform so that decision makers and product designers could generate, access, and share timely insights. As a medium-sized enterprise, however, Patties Foods needed to balance BI and database power with its budget.
Patties Foods found that balance with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Partner Network member TimeXtender. It now has the cloud BI platform it needs to make more informed business decisions—and continue growing with confidence.
Powerful data processes + visualization = faster business insights
Patties Foods had built its data estate on Microsoft SQL Server, so Tam and his team decided that Azure data services would be the natural choice for the database and analytics layers of an end-to-end BI, analytics, and visualization platform. They added a powerful data automation platform built by TimeXtender that helps enterprises access and model their data while ensuring compliance. Hosted on Azure Virtual Machines, TimeXtender helps Patties Foods speed up and simplify extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes, integrate data from diverse sources, and ensure that everything is in the right format to deliver rapid insights.
The platform pulls data from the company’s enterprise resource planning system, planning and promotion software, and financial forecasts into a data warehouse based on the Azure SQL Database Hyperscale service tier. Patties Foods also uses Azure SQL Database and TimeXtender for other non-data-warehouse workloads. Business users process the data and extract insights using Azure Analysis Services and Azure Synapse Analytics, and with Power BI, executives, analysts, and product teams build data visualizations for easier reporting and self-service analysis. As the platform grows to keep pace with the company’s plans, it can use automated, near-infinite scalability in the Hyperscale service tier to keep the business focused on growth without anyone having to worry if the databases can keep up.
“We use our Azure platform as the data foundation to generate new insights into the opportunities out there,” says Tam. “We now have robust technology for insights and analysis. Our teams can quickly analyze and track financial, sales, and operational performance so they know where we need to take action.”
Faster insights, simpler scaling, and more opportunities
With Azure data services, Patties Foods can scale up servers and databases quickly to take on extra load, and then scale back down just as fast. According to Tam, that helps his organization think outside the box because developers don’t have to spend time, effort, and budget over-administering databases. “The move to the Azure platform, along with TimeXtender, has significantly enabled flexibility that we did not have in the past with legacy data warehouse environments,” says Adrian Martorella, Head of Information Technology at Patties Foods. “With Azure, we now have significantly more flexibility compared to our legacy data warehouse environments.”
Martorella says the new BI foundation has underpinned the ability to aggregate and transform data, making it easier to do than before. “We’ve used Azure to migrate from legacy infrastructure with speed and accelerate our analytics platform,” continues Martorella. “Our approach to data analysis has changed rapidly with growth, and our flexibility with Azure and TimeXtender helps us enrich the capabilities of our data warehouse without the high cost of traditional ETL development.”
Tam’s team used TimeXtender on Azure to transform and streamline how it manages and consumes data. It has used TimeXtender to optimize processes so that routine data load and entry tasks that could take three to four days to complete now get done in half a day.
With its new modern data estate on Azure, Patties Foods feels prepared for whatever possibilities the future holds—wherever the company finds them. “We operate in a fast-paced environment. As we expand, our BI technologies need to adapt to meet new challenges and opportunities,” says Tam. “With Azure and TimeXtender, we’re ready for anything that comes our way.”
We use our Azure platform as the data foundation to generate new insights into the opportunities out there. Our teams can quickly analyze and track financial, sales, and operational performance so they know where we need to take action.
Tam Ta: BI Analytics Lead