With nearly 2,300 stores, The Home Depot is the world’s largest home-improvement chain — a brand that professional contractors and DIYers alike have come to depend on. The home improvement industry continues to experience unprecedented demand and dramatic increases in online ordering accompanied by expanding consumer expectations for things like curbside pickup and same day delivery. The Home Depot’s decision to migrate to cloud-based infrastructure, including the migration of the company’s SAP applications on Google Cloud which began in 2017, has set it up for success in an increasingly digital world, and helped the company adapt to changing market conditions quickly.
Interconnected retail at scale
Building on a strong customer-first philosophy, The Home Depot aims to create what it calls interconnected retail—allowing customers to shop however, whenever, and wherever they want. “So many companies are focused on omni-channel retail,” explains Sam Moses, Vice President of Corporate Systems. “At The Home Depot, we wanted to take it to the next level. Interconnected retail puts the customer at the center of everything and enables them to shop in store, online, or both. Customers can begin a transaction online and continue in-store, or vice-versa.”
To support this strategy, the company’s SAP environment needed to be more agile. Running everything on-premises, from central finance to POS systems, meant that The Home Depot’s IT teams experienced redundancy and repetitive, manual processes. Their data warehouse needed an upgrade to process and analyze growing and increasingly diverse data sets. The Home Depot chose to migrate its SAP environment to Google Cloud to support both the velocity and scale needed for the business as well as critical analytics capabilities needed for its bold digital initiatives. “We chose Google Cloud to support our SAP implementation. Our decision had a lot to do with the relationship between Google Cloud and SAP and also for the applications and services that are offered by Google Cloud, like BigQuery, which are helping to enable data and analytics within our organization,” Moses explains.
After migrating its SAP applications—including S/4HANA, its customer activity repository (CAR), general ledger, e-commerce system, enterprise data warehouse and more to Google Cloud, the company now has the speed, scale and flexibility to tackle enormous spikes in the business, all while staying fully available for their customers. Additionally, The Home Depot was able to transform its financial systems and make them more agile to deliver critical information across multiple business functions in real time.
Maximizing data insights to support customer experiences
By migrating to Google Cloud, The Home Depot is leveraging Google Cloud analytics to build the industry’s most efficient supply chain including more robust demand forecasting, supplier lead times, estimated delivery times and more, all while maintaining better security than before. “We experienced unprecedented change in our customers’ behavior and their buying patterns, which puts a lot of pressure on our supply chain,” explains Moses. “So having the ability to leverage data and analytics gives us insights to know exactly what it is that our customers need.”
The company’s analysts now use BigQuery ML for machine learning directly against the company’s BigQuery data and use AutoML to determine the best model for predictions. The Home Depot’s engineers have also adapted BigQuery to monitor, analyze, and act on application performance data across all its stores and warehouses in real time—capabilities that were not as seamless in the on-premises environment.
With hundreds of projects on Google Cloud, The Home Depot’s cloud journey is well on track, but the company is always looking to the future. “As our customers’ needs have continued to evolve, and as technology has continued to evolve, our relationship with Google will continue to advance — to be able to innovate together, to be able to find new solutions together, to better serve our customers.”
Learn more about how The Home Depot is renovating its retail operation with SAP on Google Cloud.