PRG Streamlines Data with Hybrid Approach on the Cloud

Executive summary

Production Resource Group (PRG) is a leader in entertainment and event production, specializing in wide-ranging solutions that help bring the world’s greatest creative visions to life. From early innovations in theatre, PRG’s expertise is now sought out the world over to solve unique production challenges for a broad range of markets including live music, corporate events, film & television, theatre, and scenic installations. 

Since its beginnings, PRG had visions of being a one-stop shop for its customers. In this pursuit, over the past 30+ years, the company has completed multiple acquisitions. With each acquisition comes challenges, and systems integration is one of the most challenging and critical success factors. Merging companies means that PRG’s combined workforce will be working within different data systems, which presents the more fundamental challenge of integrating data architectures. 

Tomas Lebovic, PRG’s Manager of Global Analytics & Reporting, was keenly aware of the demand to streamline PRG’s data management systems and eliminate growing pains associated with combining data from acquired companies. For these reasons, he chose a combination of Sisense as an end-to-end BI solution and Snowflake as an elastic data warehouse. This partnership has allowed PRG to scale its infrastructure, extending the impact to everyone, from C-level management down to front-line employees on the shop floor. 

The challenge: streamlining data management systems

In the past year, PRG introduced a lot of complexity into its data ecosystem after acquiring one of its largest competitors. While Lebovics’ team managed rental data in Oracle, the acquired company managed its rental data in an MS SQL server. In addition, the new company was using data warehousing infrastructure provided by a competing BI vendor.

Reflecting on the challenge, Lebovic observed,

Trying to get these multiple data sources merged together was a big issue for us. That’s where Sisense came in.

Tom Lebovic
Tomas Lebovic, Manager of Reporting and Analytics

The search is on

PRG needed a BI solution that minimized the impact of merging data and streamlined the BI process at every point of the data pipeline. But this search was about more than just finding the right BI platform. In order to further reduce the impact on his data team, Tom was looking for a vendor that:

  1. Offered a flexible hosted solution and a variety of data connectors, eliminating the need to invest upfront in an in-house data center

  2. Offered both live connections and cached infrastructure so that the team could scale its data into cloud warehousing as its company expanded

With Sisense, Lebovic found a data and analytics platform that met all of his requirements, offered a strong hosted solution, provided a product roadmap with strong investments in modern cloud infrastructure, and supported a professional services team obsessed with his data team’s success. 

Building a modern data stack with Sisense and Snowflake

After getting the data in front of its stakeholders as fast as possible, it was time for PRG to focus on implementing a data warehouse that would accommodate all future data integrations its team might encounter. Further, they needed to select cloud services that met the standards of a CIO who was looking to modernize PRG’s data stack for scale and growth.

As PRG prepared to upgrade its data stack, Snowflake emerged as the leading contender to help PRG future-proof its warehousing for both the volume and data types seen in legacy systems. The team also brought Fivetran in to help them with aggregating multiple data sources.

With its warehouse in place, PRG was thus able to optimize for its data needs by having cached data in the Sisense Elasticube and live connections to its Snowflake environment. In this setup, the team is now able to augment the data in Snowflake with datasets they provide, including CSVs, spreadsheets, and third-party APIs. Snowflake’s speed supports the live connections, ensuring PRG sees the freshest data in its warehouse whenever up-to-date metrics are needed.

Business intelligence for every team

Reflecting on where his organization stands today, Lebovic said “My team now relies on Sisense and Snowflake to simplify a variety of recurring data aggregation workflows, from P&L reports to sales analysis. Anything that used to require manually aggregating and merging spreadsheets can be pulled out of Sisense.

Already, I’d say Sisense and Snowflake are saving our teams 100 hours per week.”

The Sisense end-to-end solution allows PRG’s data team to refocus its skills on delivering dynamic analytics applications to every level of the organization and automate the rest. Snowflake allows its team to scale this work across PRG’s many data systems and successfully manage with any volume or complexity. This leaves the PRG team free to focus on its core competencies. As Lebovic observed, “We’re not in the data center business. We’re in the business of providing staging, lighting, and LED panels to help our customers bring their visions to the audience.” 

With data sources merged from dozens of systems across multiple acquired companies, every team at PRG can now access exactly the data they need when they need it. For any of its productions, from small events to large scale world tours, teams on the shop floor now use a Sisense dashboard to reflect input data captured in real time via barcode scanning and RFID to ensure equipment is properly allocated and packaged. Customer account reps use Sisense dashboards to track their receivables. Purchasing managers, often tasked with buying new equipment or renting additional equipment to fulfill a client’s order, use Sisense dashboards are their go-to for all purchasing data, and the finance team uses Sisense dashboards to report to investors on various data points. And at the top of the organization, PRG C-level executives use Sisense dashboards to ensure their departments are running smoothly and wider organizational goals are being met.