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Death Of The Data Swamp


Let’s unpack a topical four letter word: DATA. The exact thing (or things, really) that offers so much insight also brings so much despair, disdain and dread. A lot of D words. A lot of pain. On the shadowy side of the data lake lives the data swamp; a place where formatting issues, duplicate, junk, and missing data are aplenty. If your data swims in a swamp, how will you hook actionable insights? The answer: data harmonization; a semi-automated approach that requires a little art (from the humans) and a little science (from the machine). It only works with the right people and the right technology.

At its core, data harmonization enhances the quality and integrity of your business data to create a single source of truth from which insights can be gleaned with confidence. The hybrid harmonization model looks like this:

data harmonization

So bring it on – syndicated data, loyalty cards, trade and revenue details, POS, shipment, inventory, and forecasting data. We see these inputs acquired from FTP, vendor portals, data feeds, and manual formats.

Through the power of data harmonization, CPGs across categories are accessing the insights they require to optimize promotional dollars. Say hello to the data lake of your dreams. 

“We’ve learned some human touch is critical to fully harmonize CPG data. Category, product, and market knowledge is essential during the Ingest phase. Highly refined analytics tools, like the ones we’ve developed, help CPGs break through data chaos and view KPIs by channel, brand and any number of customized sub segmentations,” says Robert Baldwin, GM of Retail Analytics (a division of Blacksmith Applications). 

It’s critical to combine scattered data sets and cleanse them of inaccuracies before you pull insights. “When we present the data,” continues Baldwin, “it’s whole; it’s easy to understand. You have a single, reliable view of everything and anything needed to support your business decisions.” 

You should know what’s driving performance and growth. “Our platform builds actionable insights based on your data, and establishes accurate predictive, descriptive, and prescriptive models,” Baldwin says. 

Data harmonization results in definitive insights that ultimately help you win online and on shelf. Quickly understand your data so you can derive insights that scale the business.

Quote from Robert Baldwin


Account Insights™ is a Tableau-based analytics platform from TABS Analytics. It provides CPGs with comprehensive insights across sales and shipment data. The solution harmonizes data from standard and non-standard sources so you can view account and channel-level detail across customers. 

Your data is harmonized in a single portal: 

  • Disparate POS and shipment data in your custom hierarchy 
  • Cross-channel and cross-geography data 
  • Standard and custom account time periods

Quote from Annette Gabele

“The biggest benefit of a tool like this is the granular level of harmonized data,” says Annette Gabele, Sr. Vice President, Consulting & Revenue Management. “The weekly sales view shows a rundown of your business across time, and the shipped to sales view gives a timeline of your point of sale activity and how that corresponds to your shipments. It’s exceptional.


Who: A popular American cosmetics manufacturer 

Need: Expand data integration across functional groups 

Goal: Gain quick insights and easy access to business performance 

Data Harmonized for: 

  • 3 brands 
  • 2,500+ SKUs
  • 27,000+ customer items 
  • 35+ sources across POS and shipments 

The data is used throughout the organization – from the executive team to sales and from product innovation to sales and marketing – and is updated weekly and delivered by item. More than 80 data ‘consumers’ and 45 active Tableau and/or Connected Excel users can self-author detailed reporting. Account Insights is used across the organization as the single source of truth for total consumption data combined with ships. 

Key Users: Consumer insights, sales, FPNA, demand planning/supply chain, executive team, innovation, marketing and brand teams


Check out more content on Data Harmonization here