Here's how Denodo helped one Florida retailer prepare for an AI-driven future

  • Florida retailer City Furniture turned to Denodo to virtualize and centralize its data

  • The retailer's CIO said this upgrade allows its teams to access data that is more up-to-date in a secure way

  • City Furniture's move to the cloud with Denodo tees it up to capitalize on the AI future

City Furniture, a Florida-based retailer with a chain of physical stores, wanted to find a better way to manage and understand its sales and operational data so it could perform more efficiently and provide its sales team with real-time information. To achieve that objective, the furniture retailer teamed with Denodo on a multi-year project using Denodo’s data virtualization platform to develop a single data architecture layer for all of City Furniture’s analytics and operational systems.

Chad Simpson, CIO of City Furniture, said that one of the company’s key objectives for this project was to create a universal data model that is both flexible and adaptable. “Data needs to be reliable,” Simpson said.

Founded in 1999, Denodo is a data management and integration company. It launched data virtualization capabilities for the cloud on its platform in 2016 and now provides a variety of solutions for managing data in hybrid, multi-cloud and other distributed environments.

City Furniture connected all its data sources to Denodo’s virtual platform and created one universal layer that today serves as a single data source for all the company’s operational applications. The data can be accessed by different departments across the company.

“There are many advantages to this,” Simpson said. “Data virtualization allows you to not move the data but instead see a virtualized view of the data.” That data can be processed and presented in different ways but because it isn’t being moved around, it’s much more secure, Simpson said.

One example of how City Furniture uses its virtual data platform is that all of members of the company’s sales force have access to a real-time dashboard that includes up-to-date sales figures, key performance indicators and special discounts. Simpson said that because the numbers are real-time, City Furniture sales associates can see which team members are leading in sales.

“This creates competitiveness and gamesmanship,” he said, adding that because the numbers are in real-time, company management can help sales associates increase their sales by offering discounts and other incentives.

Before City Furniture moved to Denodo’s data virtualization platform, the sales teams had to rely on batch reports that were compiled overnight and then distributed. Because of the batch reporting, the numbers were often out-of-date by the time sales people had access to them.

Another key element of Denodo’s virtualization platform is that it relies on a multi-cloud strategy. Ryan Fattini, VP of data and analytics at City Furniture, said that the company uses both IBM Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its cloud strategy but also maintains on-prem servers too.

Prepared for an AI Future

Not only is City Furniture able to operate more efficiently today thanks to its use of Denodo’s data virtualization platform, it also believes it is ahead of the curve when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI).

One advantage to having a centralized data fabric is that generative AI can draw upon that data, which comes from multiple sources, and use it to deliver the best possible output.

Simpson said that he believes the City Furniture’s work with Denodo will allow it to more easily leverage generative AI and also build its own large language model (LLM) where it will incorporate all of its proprietary data so it doesn’t have to send it out to public AI models.

“We think this will be a huge differentiator for us and will keep our data private,” he concluded.

Interested in debating and discussing the challenges of multi-cloud management with your peers? Meet up in Sonoma, Calif., from Dec. 6-7 for our Cloud Executive Summit.