16 November. 19.45 - 20.30 | Attic

El Corte Inglés is a leading business group in Spain, and its Retail business line, from department stores to small stores, has led this sector in Spain over the last century. We will talk about how El Corte Inglés has managed to improve its business process for managing promotions based on the implementation of graph technology using the Neo4j platform. To maintain its leadership in an increasingly competitive market, El Corte Inglés is constantly on the move to adapt to new trends and maintain closeness with all its customers through all its channels, with a special focus on the online channel through the acceleration that this medium has had as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenge: to understand the challenge from the point of view of the business process, we have to explain it a little more in detail. El Corte Inglés product catalogue today includes around 50 million SKUs, subject to be promoted in some way. Promotions have to be uploaded and associated with the products, once this is done, it is necessary to flatten the information in order to reach all the channels. Once the information has been “flattened” or processed, the content must be “exploded”, that is the way promotions reach the channels so that users can see and use those offers. One of the characteristics of traditional systems was that they operated in nightly batch processes that took about 8 hours to calculate and distribute the information, a costly process that required several systems, precisely because it had to search through JOIN for the relationships between the entities contained in its database. This methodology is not viable today, since there are sales channels open 24 hours a day that need to be updated in real time. We are going to talk about what were the traditional technologies, the architecture and the reasons why they were not efficient and not scalable at all. Solution: El Corte Inglés evaluated many technologies and finally understood the value of Neo4j as the leader in native graph databases to manage this challenge. We bet on this platform to evolve this entire promotion management system. In 2019, work began to implement this technology. We will talk about the first phases of the implementation and the objectives achieved since then with the new approach, also reviewing the current architecture to highlight the efficiency that graphs bring to the management of promotions. Looking to the future, especially in this new post-pandemic scenario, business needs have evolved and El Corte Inglés has seen how the use of graph databases can provide benefits beyond the management of promotions, so we will talk about the medium and long-term challenges of El Corte Inglés in terms of the evolution of this project and its probable use in other use cases directly linked to this process, which make up the steps to reach the digitization of a Retail giant to continue being leader in its market. The next planned steps are the real-time integration with the web front-end and consolidating data from various business areas, such as customer position and warehouse control, so that the calculation of promotions is not only based in the product, but also in highly relevant variables, which take into account more data, specifically the client and its context, the existence and delivery costs of each product, with the aim of offering an increasingly personalized experience to customers through all available channels.