Colruyt Group creates more value from data

Colruyt Group creates more value from data

Partnership with Belgian company Collibra boosts data management ambitions

Friday, June 23, 2023

Colruyt Group teams up with Belgian data company Collibra to build a data catalogue. With this collaboration, two Belgian players are joining forces to ensure Colruyt Group's future in data management. The retailer wants to improve the accessibility of huge amounts of data and generate even more valuable insights from it, to serve as a basis for decision-making in day-to-day operations. In the first phase, which was completed today, the company-specific vocabulary was migrated to the catalogue, while the actual data and reports will follow later. The data catalogue allows Colruyt Group to take big steps forward as a data-driven organisation, and in its ambition to become the leading European retailer in creating sustainable added value from information.

Getting a better 'grip' on all data
"As a large and diverse group, we have huge amounts of data, scattered across the organisation, managed in various applications and stored in multiple places," says Ruben Missinne, Division Manager for Colruyt Group Data & Analytics. "As a result, not everyone knows what data is out there, resulting sometimes in a long search. It also happens that we don't understand the data very well or doubt the quality and completeness." So the retailer needed a powerful solution to provide an overview of all available data, derived both from internal and external sources. Or a central, integrated tool to manage everything correctly and make data easily accessible, from producing information over consulting it and, above all, converting it into added value.

Colruyt Group found the perfect partner to accomplish this in data specialist Collibra, which set up a data catalogue, in collaboration with the company Datashift as implementation partner. Both partners were chosen together, to ensure good support in building the necessary skills around the tool. Missinne: "As a pioneer in future-oriented data solutions, Collibra was the ideal match for us. They are very aware of what is moving in data management and what will be needed tomorrow. In turn, our needs are information for them to keep improving their product. We are therefore excited to have found a Belgian specialist in Collibra to help us grow in innovative data management."

Smooth connection to existing sources

The first step in building the data catalogue is connecting existing data sources, e.g. ERP and CRM systems, both locally and in the cloud. Ready-made integrations ensure the smooth flow of data. Once the technical connections have been set up for one database in one technology, the connection is also ready for all further set-ups. Meanwhile, the first functionality of the information catalogue has gone live. It fully incorporates Colruyt Group's glossary or common language, with all data and reports gradually following later.
​"The Collibra Data Intelligence platform offers customers like Colruyt Group a central platform for good data management. We managed to make an excellent mix between the customer's needs and our vision on the future of data management - because that's where our strength lies. We also noted that the future development of our product is aligned with Colruyt Group's data vision,"
says Felix Van de Maele, founder of Collibra.

Self-service shop

Collibra's data catalogue gives an overview of the data available within Colruyt Group, where it can be found, the quality, what it can be used for, and so on. This allows users to find the right data faster, work with it and make better-informed decisions. Missinne: "We now have a self-service shop, so to speak, that makes data available to anyone in the organisation who wants to get insights from it. Because many more colleagues will now have access, we will be able to create much more value together. The user-friendly tool allows the different businesses to take ownership of their data, and their share of responsibility for managing it correctly. This way, data is no longer just an IT-related entity, but acquires a place in the business itself."

The data dialogue provides transparency and convenience for everyone who delivers or interacts with information. Moreover, teams now gain optimal insight into data flows throughout the organisation, which allows processes to be refined and faster proactive interventions. "As a data-driven organisation, we will now create more value on three levels: more customised services and stronger relationships for customers, optimised processes and improved operational excellence, and finally proactive business actions. This makes us stronger, as a group, to achieve our strategic objective: become the number one European retailer in creating sustainable added value from information," Ruben Missinne concludes.

Transparency and ethics

Colruyt Group anticipates future challenges and therefore closely follows innovations such as generative AI. It also continues to invest in the fundamentals around data management, including ethics. In this area too, Collibra's solution provides guidance and the necessary transparency. Ruben Missinne points out: "As a company, we want to set exemplary behaviour and handle data correctly. A lot of attention is paid to this internally and we also contribute to the KUL chair on AI & ethics, for example. If we don't want 'bias' in our algorithms and models, we need an overview of our data and the data dialogue indisputably contributes conclusively to this."

From left to right on the picture: Stefan Goethaert (CEO Colruyt Group), Felix Van de Maele (CEO Collibra), Ruben Missinne (Division Manager Colruyt Group Data & Analytics), Nico Huybrechts (CEO Datashift)