Normally, when I conduct case study interviews, I gather a lot of information on how our customers are using Diver, and then I sort through that information to bring you a cohesive user story. However, I recently visited Allied Beverage at its headquarters in Carlstadt, New Jersey, and when I came home, I found I had almost too much information to comb through – 33 pages of transcript from my interviews! And it was all great info. How was I going to distill it down into a succinct case study?
That’s why in this blog post, I’m going to bring you some of the information and background that didn’t quite make it into the case study. I’m not going to call it the “outtakes” because it’s not that this information was not as useful as the rest. This is all great information on how a company has really gotten the most of its nearly 20 years using Diver. Think of this as Allied Beverage: The Bonus Edition.
Diver’s growth throughout the enterprise
There are a lot of people at Allied Beverage who use and love Diver. But I would say our true “Diver champion” is Liliana Alfonso, IT assistant director. Liliana worked in sales and marketing back in 2000 when Allied Beverage first implemented Diver. In her role, she produced models for sales reporting.
However, Liliana was also able to see how Diver could be used beyond the sales organization, and when Brian Margolies, Allied Beverage’s CIO, came on board in 2009, the two of them collaborated to expand Diver beyond the walls of the sales department. Today, Diver is used in sales, marketing, finance, accounting, and purchasing, and the organization is continually looking for ways to further broaden its use of Diver.
In addition to valuing the technology that Dimensional Insight provides, the folks at Allied Beverage also value the relationship that our companies have formed over the years. Liliana talked to me fondly about the relationships she has had with various Dimensional Insight employees and how she loves seeing them at various user group meetings and industry events. Brian also spoke about how when Allied Beverage recently decided to merge with Breakthru Beverage New Jersey (another Dimensional Insight customer), our CEO, Fred Powers, was one of the first people he called. Fred then flew down to New Jersey to talk to Allied Beverage employees about Dimensional Insight’s technology vision. I know from speaking to Fred as well that the visit was one he enjoyed greatly.
Finding hidden data in Diver
I spoke to several different people during my visit to Allied Beverage, one of whom was Donna Buoscio, Allied Beverage’s commercial finance director. Part of her job is to look at return on investment for major suppliers, as well as pricing.
I asked Donna about any “a-ha!” moments with Diver. Was there anything surprising she found in Diver that she otherwise wouldn’t have known?
Donna says: “Oh god, all the time! I’ll look at things by SKU, and I’ll be shocked at how much money we make on a SKU. Then I drive a program or incentive against something that I know is going to have a really high return. Every time I open Diver, I find something.”
That’s what I love hearing – how the insights generated by Diver have a direct impact on revenue.
Another person I spoke to was David Koskinen, vice president and head of purchasing at Allied Beverage. He talked about the value of Diver from both a brand manager and a purchasing perspective. It seemed to me that these two roles were a bit at odds with each other – the brand manager wanting to buy a hot new product and the purchasing manager saying, “no, it won’t sell.” David spoke about how Diver can help both roles come to an agreement.
“Diver lets you find the holes and find where to target so you can make a good sales pitch and get others thinking it’s possible,” David said. “When you just tell them, ‘go sell it and put it everywhere it’s not,’ others will make judgments and say it shouldn’t belong there. It’s too expensive for these places, this town will never buy it. But if you can prove to them that there’s something else that store is buying that is very comparable, then they will start to think that maybe it will work.”
Data – how you want it
I’ve heard from several users at different organizations lately that one of the big benefits of Diver is that users can access data in the format that’s best for them. It is not a “one size fits all” solution.
Karl Mende, senior analyst at Allied Beverage, is in charge of training users. I was really impressed by the training classes he offers – in a variety of levels – so users can learn more about Diver where they’re at. Karl talked about how he works with employees so they can learn about how to find information in Diver that is specific to their role at Allied Beverage.
Donna also talked to me about accessing data specific to how you want it. For example, she said that the high-level executives often like the visualization that Diver provides. However, for the sales staff, it’s all about the numbers, and Diver can provide just that summary-level data as well.
Promoting a data-driven culture
The biggest takeaway from the time I spent at Allied Beverage is that it is possible to create a data-driven culture from top to bottom in an organization. That culture, in turn, drives better business results. At Allied Beverage, just about every department uses Diver, and they use the data as the basis for the decisions they make. Employees at Allied Beverage are not flying blind. In contrast, they are informed, and are able to refine processes in order to capture more revenue. This is the essence of what Diver is all about, and it was great to see it in action at one of our customer sites.
Odds and ends
- Allied Beverage is based in Carlstadt, which is in Northern New Jersey. The borough is actually famous for being the birthplace of a popular beverage: Yoo-hoo. The chocolate drink was introduced at a small soda fountain on Hackensack Street back in the 1920s.
- For those of you who know the area, Allied Beverage is also very close to MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets. In fact, when I tried to find my way back to the highway, my GPS failed me and I spent quite a chunk of time navigating the stadium parking lots looking for an exit that wasn’t blocked off (it was the off-season).
Read more about how Allied Beverage has been using Diver for the past 20 years. Download the Allied Beverage Case Study