Fifteen years ago, I had the good fortune of winning a project to build a data warehouse for National Vision (NVI). The company had recently emerged from bankruptcy, been acquired by a private equity (PE) firm and purchased a like-sized organization named America’s Best. To say it was chaotic, exciting and disruptive to the industry would be an understatement.
The catalyst for our project was a directive from the CEO who wanted timely and trusted information about all facets of his business in a quick and efficient manner. The multiple legacy systems that were not efficiently linked created challenges in getting real-time data that could be used to make business decisions and inform the new PE ownership. The CEO is a Harvard MBA and deep down, I believe he is a data junkie and loves analyzing numbers. Not only for himself, but he also envisioned the organization developing a more data-driven culture as part of his long-term plan. This was also not just an effort to create efficiencies but represented a “trust but verify” mindset he established with his highly respected leadership team, who had years of industry experience.
Most people reading this blog know that a high percentage of data warehouse projects never see the light of day, for a wide variety of reasons. Some of the common reasons for failure are running out of money, lack of executive sponsorship, lack of executive alignment or even project fatigue, to name a few. Fortunately, we had a client committed to the success of this initiative, a partner with a very experienced project team, and a leader to ensure that success. Over time, we transformed and evolved National Vision’s data and analytics platform at the speed of their fast-growing business.
We believe the benefits of the investment in this culture-changing initiative has paid huge dividends in so many areas of National Vision’s business over the years. Outside of the common gains one would expect such as trusted and accessible information at the speed of need, we also accomplished things like data agility, allowing for highly advanced predictive capabilities. Applying that type of data discipline to areas of the business such as marketing, professional services, finance and real estate can truly give any company an edge in the market.
As National Vision continues to grow and evolve, Protiviti continues to grow and evolve with them. For example, we recently partnered with the NVI finance project team and tapped SAP Analytics Cloud to extend the capabilities of its SAP Business Planning and Consolidation software.
Like any long-term relationship, our partnership with NVI involves give and take. I am thankful for our long-standing relationship and believe that like Protiviti, National Vision lives by the Golden Rule when it comes to partnerships.