Gill Capital unlocks SAP data with Fivetran, boosts sales by 25%

Southeast Asia's leading retailer enables real-time inventory visibility and operational efficiency across key brands in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.
“Extracting data out from SAP is not easy due to its rigid enterprise structure. Very few connectors work well with SAP, but Fivetran has clearly invested a lot in making it work.”
— Victor Siow, Chief Data Analytics Officer, Gill Capital Group

Key results: 

  • 25% increase in total annual sales
  • 32% year-over-year increase in Black Friday sales
  • 121% increase in online sales, thanks to near real-time data syncs
  • 10X reduction in cost savings 
  • 200% increase in team productivity, saving them from doubling in size

Data stack: 

  • Pipeline: Fivetran
  • Destination: Google BigQuery
  • Data modeling: Google Cloud Cortex Framework
  • Sources: SAP ECC, SAP HANA, SQL Server, Magento, MySQL
  • BI: Looker

Gill Capital, a leader in Southeast Asian retail, manages well-known global brands including H&M, COS, Alo Yoga and The Hershey Company. The business aimed to consolidate data across its brands to track end-to-end sales and supply chain operations, especially during peak seasons like Black Friday and year-end sales periods.

But extracting data from SAP, the backbone of Gill Capital's ERP system, was complex and challenging due to its rigid structure. Their ERP system handles promotions and pricing, allocates new goods to stores and manages the replenishment of low-stock items. Business users relied heavily on SAP’s internal BI tooling, which required lots of manual data manipulation in Excel spreadsheets. Getting sales and inventory reporting required multiple downloads, data alignments and complex spreadsheets that were time-consuming and prone to human error.

Building a data lakehouse with Fivetran and BigQuery

In 2023, Victor Siow, Group Chief Data Analytics Officer, and Pinyapat Amornrattanaroj, Head of Data Engineering, joined Gill Capital and brought on Fivetran and Google Cloud to build a new modern data platform. Fivetran quickly connected data from systems like Magento and SAP to Google BigQuery. Their rapid success gave them the momentum and confidence to tackle their biggest challenge: getting data out of SAP HANA and decoding it in Google BigQuery.

They loaded SAP data via change data capture (CDC) with Fivetran directly into Google Cloud Cortex to create new data models and start building real-time reporting. With BigQuery, Cortex and Fivetran running in Google Cloud Platform, they had a functional data lakehouse and a modern data stack. 

Gill Capital was among the first companies to work with Fivetran during a private preview of the SAP ERP on HANA connector. They plan to use the connector to support their upgrade to SAP RISE later this year. 

“Fivetran is pivotal in our data lakehouse architecture, allowing our brands to scale analytics, visualization, machine learning and AI projects cost-effectively.”
— Victor Siow, Chief Data Analytics Officer, Gill Capital Group

Post deployment of Fivetran with Google Cloud, the business gained real-time access to sales data — up to every 5 mins — and end-to-end visibility of inventory levels and movement of goods across stores, distribution centers, marketplaces such as Shopee and Zalora and online stock. 

This was especially crucial during Black Friday 2023. Retail employees were able to respond to customer behavior through real-time sales dashboards, which led to a 32% increase in total sales year-over-year. Online sales more than doubled, and they were able to meet capacity and demand without issue.

“We never had real-time data for Black Friday before Fivetran. Fivetran gave us data from SAP every 5 minutes, which allowed the data team to deploy real-time insights to the store for crowd management, stock replenishment and dynamic last-minute deals.”
— Victor Siow, Chief Data Analytics Officer, Gill Capital Group

Productivity gains and future plans with AI  

Siow and Amornrattanaroj have achieved significant productivity improvements, saving 90 hours per week in workforce productivity gains across the group — which adds up to 4,680 hours annually. 

Amornrattanaroj shares: “Thanks to Fivetran, our team can focus more on business modeling and acquiring new data engineering skills.”

Gill Capital plans to use Fivetran to integrate customer data from various touchpoints into Google BigQuery. The integration will power predictive modeling and AI-driven applications, allowing Gill Capital to offer personalized product recommendations and promotions, identify best- and slowest-selling items, and alert customers about low-stock and last-piece items through their app.

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