Sparex uses Zoho Analytics to process 30 million rows of data, 2,000 pivot tables, 4,000 query tables and hundreds of dashboards collating data from 18 subsidiaries


Founded in 1965, Sparex is the UK's leading distributor of agricultural spare parts, from tractor engines to power tools, beacons, nuts and bolts. With headquarters in the rural county of Devon, the business owns 18 international subsidiary companies across the world. From the USA to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, France, Poland and more, Sparex is meeting the global parts demands of the fast-paced, labour-intensive agricultural industry.

Read on to discover how Kristian James, Sparex's Business Intelligence and Analytics Manager, leveraged Zoho Analytics to restore internal confidence in the company's data, empower its team, enable actionable decision-making and accelerate sales.

The Challenge

Before implementing Zoho Analytics, Kristian admits that much of Sparex's data was inaccurate, due to each of its 18 subsidiaries using different systems to collect the data. Its fragmented approach meant that different departments within the business would often be working from conflicting data. Many a meeting was halted as stakeholders and decision makers tried to establish which department's figures were correct, paralyzing progress. "A lot of time within meetings was spent asking questions about where the data came from and how accurate it was...they would not make the decisions they needed to make", explained Kristian.

In an attempt to remedy the problem, Kristian was appointed as "Data Quality Analyst", a full-time 40 hour per week role that involved cross-referencing and checking data continuously.

With faith in its BI low and a negative knock-on effect on decision-making, time and resources, Sparex desperately needed a platform that would collate, standardize and validate its data.

The Solution

Kristian channelled data from each market through DataBridge into Zoho Analytics, setting up a daily sync whereby around 15,000,000 rows of live data are pushed into the system each morning. Next, Kristian used Zoho Analytics' easy drag-and-drop dashboard builder and its wide choice of charts and graphs to configure digestible BI visualizations, distributing these to key stakeholders through automatically scheduled emails or Microsoft Teams alerts.

Although the volume of data being processed by Zoho Analytics is huge, the platform's stringent security controls and permission settings mean that each colleague sees a personalized dashboard in the app, containing only the information they need to carry out their job.

What's more, in a move that has empowered his colleagues, Kristian enabled the self-service function in Analytics, which allows each user to generate their own reports, charts, graphs, dashboards and more. This has seen custom report requests to the BI team slashed from 1-2 per hour to 1-2 per week.

As a result of these new efficiencies and restored confidence in the accuracy of the company's BI, Kristian's former "Data Quality Analyst" role is now completely redundant, meaning that he can focus on more advanced BI duties and insights.

One such insight delivered a return of $1.4 million in sales for Sparex. Using Zoho Analytics to identify slow and non-moving stock, Kristian was able to reprice an entire catalogue of parts that had not been recently purchased, with the discounting exercise leading to a huge uplift in sales.