As an ageing system began to impact the business, Harding recognised the need to identify and implement an updated data strategy

About Harding

As a pioneer in onboard cruise retail focused on creating exhilarating shopping experiences, Harding has long benefitted from its investment in Business Intelligence, helping to secure contracts with over 22 cruise brand partners across the globe, including more than 62 cruise ships.  

However, with more cruise lines partnering with Harding, and with the success of over 250 shops ranging from jewellery and watches to liquor and beauty, the BI platform began to experience performance and complexity issues. As an ageing system began to impact the business, Harding recognised the need to identify and implement an updated data strategy to move them forwards.

The challenge

At the time of Transparity’s involvement, Harding experienced two core challenges when interacting with their current BI framework. These were:    


As datasets grew alongside the expansion of the business, reporting and analytics procedures began to feel an increase of pressure. The execution time of existing processes began to grow – impacting the system’s users – creating core challenges to daily operations and affecting overall speed and flexibility.  

With the size and scale of datasets continuing to grow, this challenge promised to only become more and more pressing, prompting Harding to take action to minimise the risk to normal operations.   


As well as performance becoming affected by growing datasets, another challenge to Harding’s overall BI solution was an increasing complexity. Un-checked, this complexity could cause technical instability, with teams having to navigate complicated datasets to achieve necessary results.    

With multiple users continuing to interact with the BI framework, Harding thought it necessary to re-evaluate their BI solution. This ensured that BI processes remained updated and optimised for their current position – while also enabling a roadmap to ensure a fit for purpose solution in the long-term as well.

The solution

When seeking to optimise BI capabilities to continue delivering award-winning services, one proposed approach was to implement a new solution – starting from nothing.  

However, with a desire to leverage the existing investment and build on the knowledge and experience in the solution they already had, a more progressive approach to the strategy was sought.    

When we reached out to Harding, we proposed an alternative approach. Instead of completely reinventing the solution, we would instead start with streamlining and optimising the current solution first. In doing so, this would protect previous investments while leveraging their current architecture and allow the time to build a longer-term strategy.     

Implementing a future-proofed, scalable solution 

In the first phase of our collaborative involvement with Harding, we began our efforts by examining the architecture and frameworks currently being used.   

Phase One – Stabilisation  

After we understood the specific architecture and BI Solution Harding utilised, we streamlined current structures to alleviate some of the immediate pressures facing Harding – stabilising current systems to allow some breathing space for data workers interacting with BI processes daily. 

Phase Two – Optimisation  

After this remedial stabilisation, we then moved into Phase Two of operations. This sought to remove the challenges built up over time with the existing BI Solution, streamlining the framework and putting in the foundations that would support Harding’s wider digital transformation strategy.  

The re-evaluated approaches that catered to the new, evolved goals and requirements of Harding, ensured an agile, flexible approach for data workers that was scalable. This accelerated speed of insights whilst future-proofing the solution architecture, taking into account operational system upgrades and ongoing BI requirements.    

Communicating new processes  

Whenever we undergo a new project, communication with the client throughout the timeline is incredibly valued. We present updates and requests with clarity and confidence to ensure that the clients are always made aware of the status of ongoing involvement, as well as addressing any unexpected issues that may affect scope and other factors.    

Working with Harding, this continuing emphasis on communication and clarity was necessary when striving to implement core structures in a highly active commercial environment – transforming BI tools that were important to everyday operations.    

This allows teams to understand how to optimise their BI processes as we communicate how results can be established and trusted whilst keeping Harding’s long-term strategy in mind.

The outcome

The need for a scalable solution with a retained engagement  

This ongoing communication enabled us to work with Harding to establish a roadmap for future, scalable BI solutions to continually further the Harding mission.    

This approach provides a wealth of advantages in the long-term, empowering teams to interact with BI systems without fear of facing issues. It also provides trust in results without time-consuming processes, allowing for true agility alongside optimised results.    

With a retained engagement approach, we continue to support Harding in continuously searching for greater avenues to streamline and optimise overtly complex BI processes. Having already collaborated in implementing two phases, we are now beginning to implement the beginning of our third phase, as Harding continues to drive their core systems forward.    

Although affected by a wealth of challenges, such as critical issues facing international retail and the global pandemic, we are immensely proud of our collaborative efforts with Harding. Their continued involvement with us, alongside their continued trust in results gained through Business Intelligence efforts, highlights the importance of continuously evaluating BI systems to optimise results to match the shifting goals of any enterprise.

DataShapa helped us to improve access to insights, user experience, as well as operational efficiency through optimising our BI architecture and streamlining processes. We look forward to our continued partnership and future innovations 

Technical Manager at Harding

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