GreenThumb Ltd. is the United Kingdom’s leading lawn care service, treating over 2.5 million lawns each year (with 30 million individual treatments). The franchise has 230 branches across the UK, with 50 operated from the corporate level.
Hundreds of branches plus millions of lawn treatments amount to massive, siloed datasets - and the decision to launch a company-wide initiative to consolidate them. We spoke with GreenThumb's Data and Integrations Lead and Solution Architect James Barnes to discuss the company's data evolution.
GreenThumb has been successfully treating the UK’s lawns for 30 years, but their data analytics platform was still in its infancy. To get clearer reports and insights, the company started moving to Salesforce in 2019 after using an internal CRM for years.
The migration is still ongoing, so the team is working with a fragmented model - toggling between their not-so-easily accessible legacy CRM and Salesforce. These two sources are in addition to the data in other systems like an HR platform and service vehicle tracking.
These multiple silos meant their reporting took a lot of manual work, and even then they still needed clearer insights. Leadership could see, for example, the number of sales they made, but the “why” was missing. Why did sales increase, decrease, or stay the same? Why did they acquire more customers via one communication method over another?
When James came onboard in September 2022, he was tasked with deciding how the company should structure data across the business, and setting up an improved model to eliminate the data silos. He had a strategy to fix these roadblocks and bring GreenThumb’s disparate data sources together into a centralized hub. So, he suggested a data warehouse.
The company had a few options: build the data warehouse themselves, buy a SAAS solution, or use a managed service and hire a contractor. This was not an insignificant endeavor, and they didn’t want to expand their headcount or get too far into bespoke coding. Leadership also hoped to avoid a complex, costly setup. The goal then was to find an easily-manageable, cost-effective solution that would afford them the flexibility to scale and connect data themselves.
There aren’t really any competitors to you guys. We were sold on Panoply from the outset.”
- James Barnes, Data and Integrations Lead and Solution Architect
During his search for managed data warehouses, James noticed that other SaaS providers offered more complicated data connections that would take quite a bit of effort to integrate.That wasn’t the case when he found the Panoply website - our out-of-the-box Snap Connectors for many common data sources can be set up in minutes, and the Panoply Flex Connector brings in data from any other API. He reached out and was speaking with our sales team within the hour.
Panoply offers considerable cost-effectiveness and value compared to other solutions we were evaluating.”
With the Panoply managed data warehouse + ELT, the GreenThumb team doesn’t have to do any outside resourcing or a lengthy build with an external partner. They got the platform set up internally in minutes, and our customer success team was always ready to assist with initial setup, maintenance, and any other questions they had.
While their data transformation initiative is still in progress, GreenThumb can already see massive improvements in their ability to transform raw information into insights.
They previously loaded data directly from Salesforce and via APIs or offline data sets. The volume of data in their Salesforce objects meant that loading an object into Power BI could take up to five hours. Setting up access to API-based data sources was also problematic because of the variation between different providers' technical implementations - this could take anything from an hour to a day and required technical resource time.
After implementing Panoply, they went from data connector configuration to loading into Power BI in a matter of hours, and it didn’t require deep technical expertise.
Having a single source of truth in the data warehouse enables GreenThumb to bring in data in ways they couldn’t before, resulting in better analysis and decision-making. They’re confident in the accuracy of data, and now they can ask it the questions that help drive their business.
The GreenThumb executive team now has a deeper awareness of what’s happening on the ground instead of broader, high-level figures. Granular data, like identifying customers without an assigned treatment plan, pinpointing issues with systems and processes, etc., helps them retain customers, lower costs, and greatly reduce the time spent on manual reporting.
The company’s sales and marketing teams can also cross-reference data for more comprehensive insights. They can track lead gen and performance over three distinct systems: the website, integration between website and Salesforce, and Salesforce. In years past, reporting on lead performance would have been an amalgamation of those three distinct datasets, but aggregating in the Panoply hub enables them to synchronize that data and report on every lead source.
Externally, a huge benefit of the platform is the value it brings to GreenThumb customers. Recently-built customer self-service platforms make it easier and faster for people throughout the UK to schedule and manage their lawncare services.
“In terms of setting up dataflows, we've spent maybe eight hours in total for all of our existing connectors. In terms of maintenance, we barely have to do anything - this means we're able to spend all of our time building views, reports and insights.”
This transformation shapes how people within the company continue to use their business data. James and his team are establishing a baseline around eight key KPIs, including number of sales, direct debit, and average treatment value.
The franchisees also benefit from the solution as business owners in their own right. Now they can quickly identify customers who haven’t yet been assigned a treatment program and remedy the issue before it becomes a problem. This is data they didn’t have access to before implementing the data warehouse.
“Panoply ticks all the boxes - we couldn't ask for anything more.”
James and his team continue to leverage their data for faster, clearer insights than ever before. As they move toward being a fully data-driven organization, the Panoply managed data warehouse and ELT scale with their business needs so they can find and execute greater opportunities to provide value to their customers across the UK.