Wightlink Ferries is one of the UK’s largest domestic ferry operators, carrying over 4.5 million passengers on more than 45,000 crossings every year, connecting the Isle of Wight with Southern England.
The nature of the business means that large volumes of data are generated that contains valuable information about financial, operational and marketing performance. The ability to gain insights from this data is vital in maintaining efficient operations.
AMT Evolve has been working with Wightlink over a number of years to help build high quality reporting systems.
Data is generated from the ferry operation in various ways and in various systems – Ferry Booking System, Dynamics CRM, Google Analytics and Email Marketing. While these can each give good insights individually, there is a lot of added value that can be gained from joining up the data; for example, being able to track marketing campaigns from emails, through to accessing the website and making bookings, and then comparing this to past purchase history, can help to optimise the whole user engagement journey.
Wightlink had made some progress with other reporting tools, but the pricing model of Microsoft Power Bi and the fact that it sits within Office 365 made compelling reasons to assess its capabilities.
Originally, Wightlink wanted some Power BI reports to look at the distribution of sales of different products across the UK. This involved creating a simple data warehouse from their booking data and importing and visualising it in map form in Power BI.
Later, the marketing department wanted to investigate Google Analytics data and Click Dimensions email marketing, which was done by importing data into the warehouse and creating a separate suite of reports in Power BI.
As the power of the system became clear and more information was added, it was decided to merge the two sets of data into a single data model. This took them beyond the capabilities of Power BI for hosting the data and meant bringing in Azure Analysis Services (AAS). Fortunately, the transition was straightforward, as the Power BI models could be copied into AAS with few modifications. The existing reports in Power BI were repointed to the AAS model so that visualisations could continue to work as before.
Now they have a single warehouse and AAS model that links together data from CRM, Click Dimensions, Google Analytics and the Wightlink booking system, along with other pieces of data. This has allowed the creation of Power BI reports that can follow bookings from the marketing campaign, through the website booking to the actual journey made.
With this all-encompassing model, Wightlink have been able to create a variety of reports and dashboards.
These include looking at the effectiveness of promotions, analysing returning customers across various marketing segments, the products bought by different types of web customers and so on.
Wightlink now have a powerful Business Intelligence system that can be used to dive deeply into their data. This helps them to plan capacity, engage with customers, and ensure that their marketing budget is used in the most effective way.
The system produces routine reports, but also allows users to interact with the data in a simple, visual way, slicing and dicing complex datasets with no technical skills required.
Why did they choose AMT?
AMT Evolve has been a technology partner of Wightlink for a number of years. We help to support their SQL Server infrastructure and provide Business Intelligence services across their many datasets. AMT Evolve also supports their SharePoint systems, both on-prem and online, and we have built a number of business systems that help manage key processes.