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Premier Foods unlocks vital data from SAP with Matillion

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manual work saved



ESG records processed nightly



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Company: Premier Foods  

Product: Matillion ETL

Location: UK                           

Industry: Manufacturing/CPG                           

With Matillion and Snap Analytics, we are empowering people who were previously smothered by spreadsheets to spend less time organizing data, and more time putting it to use. Darren Sloan IT Director| Premier Foods


Premier Foods wanted to modernize its approach to data, building an architecture that would provide actionable insights, unlock vital data from business systems to simplify our processes, and reduce risk.   


Working with our partner, Snap Analytics, Premier Foods implemented Matillion to extract data to two separate data warehouses, prepare that data for analysis, and make it accessible to the wider business. 


  • Delivered 15 different data solutions across the organization, including customer service, manufacturing, sales reporting, procurement and product development.
  • Saved over 500 days of manual work and hundreds of thousands of pounds through decommissioning unnecessary data activities.
  • Matillion now supports a growing pipeline of projects under Premier Foods’ Modern Analytics and Impactful Data Program.
  • The SAP ODP connector simplifies the process of combining data from two data lakes.

The Challenge – moving from spreadsheets to truly connected data

Premier Foods plc. is one of the biggest food manufacturers in Britain. Home to a host of household names – including Mr Kipling, Homepride, and Sharwood’s – it’s estimated that approximately 94% of UK households buy at least one of the company’s products every year. 

At the heart of Premier is the belief that food has the power to enrich lives and, with that goal in mind, the company is currently expanding both domestically and internationally. It’s a period in Premier’s history that has seen significant change, but one thing that hadn’t changed until recently, was its spreadsheet-based data practices.  

“I’ve been a data evangelist for many years,” says Darren Sloan, IT Director at Premier Foods. “I could see we had islands of data and plenty of missed opportunities. Everyone was doing everything offline and it wasn’t at all efficient.”

Knowing the immense impact connected data processes could have, Darren’s IT department set out to establish data-driven practices across the organization. The department had three goals in mind: 

  1. Deliver new insights to different areas of the business. 
  2. Improve efficiencies by reducing time spent on manual data work.
  3. Minimize the risk associated with manual data practices.

The Solution – a connected data stack powered by Matillion and AWS

With its goals firmly in place, Premier reached out to Snap Analytics, a company that specializes in delivering cloud analytics solutions to help businesses achieve their data ambitions. 

A particular source of complexity for Premier was unlocking SAP data and connecting it with data from many other legacy and SaaS solutions across the business. However, solving this challenge just happens to be a Snap specialty. 

For both Snap and Premier Foods, Matillion provided the solution, with the SAP ODP connector designed to simplify the process of combining data from Premier’s business systems to its two data lakes.

“With an extensive list of pre-built connectors, Matillion had all the connectivity we needed to unlock our SAP data,” says Darren. “But what stood out to me was the pedigree it has. Its ability to connect all our different systems, capture large volumes of complex data, and transform it to be analytics-ready was exactly what we needed.” 

In the initial phase, Snap helped Premier identify the solutions required to achieve its vision of a modern data stack. The company chose Pyramid as its analytics solution to run alongside two independent data warehouses – one based on SAP BW where the company’s internal transactional data has always lived, and the other on Amazon Redshift.

“The right technology partner has to have the right knowledge, but also be a good cultural fit and work with us as part of our team,” says Darren. “We needed some thought leadership, and we needed to be challenged, and we got all of those things with Snap.”

With an extensive list of pre-built connectors, Matillion had all the connectivity we needed to unlock our SAP data. Darren Sloan IT Director| Premier Foods

Benefits – speed, scale, power, and simplicity

For Darren and the Premier Foods team, the biggest benefit of Matillion is the simplicity of the platform.  The drag-and-drop, code-friendly interface makes it easy for organizations to democratize data access without the need for extensive expertise.

“Matillion does not need programmers to drive it,” says Darren. “If you’re an analyst who can understand the data, we can train you to use the tools. But it’s very difficult to do that the other way round. We’re not a development house, so taking this approach gives us a real opportunity to scale our capabilities.”

The simplicity of the platform doesn’t just make life easier for end users either, as David Rice, Founder of Snap Analytics, attests: “Being able to maintain and support change going forward with code heavy solutions can be a challenge. That’s why we love Matillion. Instead of spending weeks changing lines of code, you have an easy low code interface to be able to visualise the transformations happening in the data.”

Premier’s IT department takes a “pilot, prove, scale” approach to adopting new solutions. In this instance, the Matillion pilot project targeted the company’s market share reports, something that previously took weeks to produce. 

“Our first use case was to produce a daily sales pulse as our proof of concept,” says Darren. “Through Matillion, and our new approach to data, we immediately saved around 100 days a month. It proved that we can do this work better, faster, and more consistently – and reduce all the risk of manual error.”

This risk mitigation offers a huge benefit to Premier, which previously conducted ordering and forecasting and other business-critical activities based on data that was very difficult to keep track of. 

“We can now do things more accurately, which in turn feeds our culture,” says Darren. “We are empowering people who were previously smothered by spreadsheets to spend less time organizing data and more time putting it to use. Matillion has helped brake down barriers in that sense.”

Following this initial POC, Matillion has been an integral part of the jigsaw of capabilities Premier needed to leverage MAID, its Modern Analytics and Impactful Data program which launched last year. The program focuses on uncovering insight and driving new efficiencies, with regular discovery sessions to explore new possibilities and use cases. 

Proactive reporting to fuel business goals

There is now a healthy pipeline of projects under the MAID banner, and people within Premier are approaching the IT department with requests on a regular basis. One of the early successes was the optimization of the company’s ESG reporting. 

“Our ESG data comes from multiple sources, and it isn’t necessarily all numbers-based,” says Darren. “It can come down to things like how many volunteering days we do and our plastic packaging use. Previously, reporting on this took so much manual effort that we could only do it every six months. Now, with Matillion, we can pull data from SAP and our specification system and process 25 million records in a single night.”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In just over a year, Premier has delivered 15 different solutions across the organization, from customer service, manufacturing, and sales reporting to procurement, product development, and beyond. As a result, Darren estimates that the company has already saved over 500 hours of manual work per month, and hundreds of thousands of pounds through decommissioning data activities it no longer needs.

What’s next

Going forwards, Premier plans to explore new ways of connecting data across departments and gaining strategic insights from its new data platform. Now the company’s prospective data users have seen what’s possible, the floodgates have opened in terms of demand, and everyone is eager to take advantage. 

“This is only the beginning in terms of what’s possible for us,” says Darren. “Realizing that we can do things that took months, in a matter of days with Matillion was the spark that led to where we are now. We can see endless possibilities ahead.”

About Premier Foods

As one of the UK’s leading food businesses, Premier Foods is on a mission to enrich life for everyone through quality food products. The company employs over 4,000 people operating from 15 sites across the country, and supplies a range of customers with iconic brands that feature in millions of homes every day. 

About Snap Analytics

Snap Analytics is dedicated to helping organizations make sense of data, using cutting-edge cloud solutions to help them gain a competitive advantage in their industries. The company has helped some of the world’s biggest brands reduce costs, accelerate project delivery, simplify technical landscapes, and turn big data ambitions into reality.