Mercateo Relies On Hitachi Vantara for Business Insights

Rapid Insight Into Data

Challenge: Seeking a central solution for business intelligence analysis and reporting.

Solution: Pentaho Data Integration and Pentaho Business Analytics automate data processing and improve access to data.


  • Higher return on investment than proprietary systems.
  • Self-service analytics and reporting.
  • Common platform for making better, more consistent business decisions.
  • Analyzing customers’ buying behaviors helps to define customer programs.

Europe's leading business procurement platform uses Pentaho to gain rapid, unified insight into its data.

The Challenge: Find a Flexible Self-Service Solution

Mercateo was founded in 1999 with the aim of making the unclear B2B procurement market in Germany more transparent and efficient with the help of the internet. They have a presence in 10 other European countries, where hundreds of suppliers and thousands of manufacturers interact with over one million business customers.

Mercateo makes more than ten million items in various product categories such as office supplies, IT and laboratory supplies, and operating and warehouse equipment.

The business model of the company combines a B2B marketplace with modular, web-based e-procurement solutions, extensive search functions and many interfaces that enable buyers, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers to network with each other beyond the ordering process and exchange transactions.

Mercateo is Europe's leading B2B procurement platform specializing in nonstrategic, commodity items. The data was originally in decentralized data silos and reporting systems. With the growth of the company and its amount of data, these self-developed island solutions were increasingly impracticable and Mercateo sought a central solution for BI analysis and reporting. End users were limited because they couldn’t create their own reports or perform analyses without IT support. Furthermore, Mercateo needed a flexible, solution that could scale with the fast growth of the company.

Mercateo has grown steadily and has further expanded its core technology and integrated new functions. The resulting data, which originally made sense, was kept decentralized and evaluated. However, with the company's strong growth and its data volume, these self-developed isolated solutions have become increasingly impractical and the company needed a central solution for BI analysis and reporting.

Pentaho lets us gain consistent insights into our data, without having to rely on IT.
– Dr. René Schult, Business Analyst, Mercateo

The Solution: Pentaho Business Analytics, Pentaho Data Integration

Hitachi Vantara’s Pentaho Business Analytics was added to the IT landscape of Mercateo. It is integrated and runs in a classic environment with XML server, Oracle Database and Microsoft® SQL Server®. Since March 2013, Hitachi Vantara has replaced the self-developed island solutions. All data from the ordering platform, such as order data or supplier information, are now analyzed and processed for reports. Total data volume grows up to 4GB per day and reaches a total of around 600GB. Pentaho Data Integration extracts, integrates and analyzes data from multiple databases. Standard ETL processes are written to structure the data and make any needed calculations, etc. Standard reports, self-service analytics and dashboards are now available to different business users depending on their requirements.

In addition to a good cost-benefit ratio, the new solution was designed to meet two main criteria: 1. It should be easy to use so that employees can independently conduct analyses and produce reports; 2. The solution should be adaptable to the fast-growing business and allow Mercateo to make the necessary extensions themselves. After evaluating various solutions, Mercateo decided to use Pentaho Business Analytics, which best met all criteria.

“With Pentaho, we are able to get a quick and consistent view of our data across the enterprise. Users from all departments can independently create analyses and reports.” Dr. René Schult, Business Analyst, Mercateo

The Outcome: Centralized Data and Reporting for More Efficient Business Insights

Mercateo found that the easy-to-use, self-service analytics and reporting solution enables 20+ power users across all departments to work with it every day. Marketing uses Hitachi Vantara to measure campaigns and sales channels effectiveness, while Sales uses the solution to analyze and optimize Mercateo's progressive pricing strategy. Furthermore, the supplier management team uses the solution to create monthly reports for its more than 600 suppliers, analyzing customers’ buying behaviors to help them define customer loyalty programs. Mercateo management can gain a single version of truth as they provide a common platform for making better, more consistent business decisions.

Almost all national and international departments work with the new solution, with around 20 power users using Hitachi Vantara’s Pentaho platform on a daily basis. Their marketing department uses Pentaho to determine the effectiveness of their campaigns and channels with accurate and consistent figures. Mercateo is known for its advanced pricing mechanisms and algorithms that allow for flexible pricing and allow optimized prices to be passed on to customers. Sales uses Pentaho to analyze and optimize the complex pricing processes.

Their supplier management team uses Pentaho's reporting capabilities to provide monthly reports on customer evaluation to its approximately 600 suppliers. This information helps suppliers to better understand the buying behavior of individual customers and to respond with appropriate customer retention measures.

Management has now a "single point of truth" through the central system and can quickly get a holistic view of the data, which was previously not possible, and are now able to make even better business decisions. Both Pentaho's dashboards and the analysis are used extensively by management. In the future, Mercateo plans to integrate more systems and is evaluating the use of Hadoop in view of the increasing volume of data.

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