Matching Vodafone’s Global Product Records With Over 85% Accuracy


Managing Vodafone’s Global Product Records With Over 85% Accuracy

Meet Vodafone

The Vodafone Group PLC are a British multinational telecommunications company that have operated across the globe since the late 90’s. They serve millions of people worldwide with network connections, mobile contracts, business accounts and extensive telecommunication services.


Accuracy rate, when matching varied product records to centrally managed SKUs.

Business challenges

As a global telecommunications supplier, with coverage across more than 70 countries, Vodafone were faced with an enviable, but difficult challenge. With such a high volume of sales, across so many regions, comes the need to ensure product descriptions, stock keeping units (SKUs) and product variations can be tracked and managed effectively. Vodafone were operating at a point where there were inconsistencies between product types in one region against the same products in another.

They needed a solution that could effectively, and accurately, identify product types by description alone, so that they could be managed under one closely managed and centralised data point.

Why Firemind?

Vodafone has been working with Firemind for a number of years now, with some of our earliest work revolutionising their invoice processing prowess. From the back of that case study’s effectiveness, came the need for a more expansive project of a similar nature, that could help solve the challenge of inconsistent product lines of mobile devices, routers and a host of other telecom units.

The project began by undertaking a thorough understanding of the SKU IDs in play at Vodafone. We had to assess the current state of product lines, descriptions in use, as well as the commercial ID properties we’d need to map towards.

This was to be a project with extensive use of Amazon Web Services (AWS), to enable effective management of the data, as well as allowing for uploaded file types to undergo machine learning (ML) assisted processes.

Uploaded files were sent into an Amazon S3 bucket, an object storage service that allows for unparalleled data storage for any use case. This step then triggered an AWS Lambda function, enabling a serverless, fully event-driven code processor, used for most application services.

From the Lambda function begins a set of three unique AWS Glue crawlers, each specific to the data type in question. We enabled one for general SKUs, another to check against Commercial IDs in use by Vodafone, and finally, a Full Hierarchy Crawler. We use Glue as it is a serverless data integration service that makes it much easier to discover, prepare, move, and integrate data from multiple sources for analytics, ML, and application development.

Glue was specifically useful for this particular project as we could enable multiple ‘transforms’. Transforms allow for ML integration, by finding similar data records, then teaching further Glue processes how to identify matching (and non-matching) records. Refining and becoming more accurate after every use.

Following on from this ML part of the process, data would go through a series of Lambda functions, Amazon EventBridges and then into a new S3 bucket, where the matching records were correctly categorised and ready to collate by data owners within Vodafone.

Discussion with Lead Solutions Architect

We caught up with the Firemind lead Solutions Architect on the SCANOSS project, Jason Golding, to find out more about the requirements, challenges and overall successes.

Hit play for a quick summary on the customer and how we shaped a new cloud architecture with transformative effect, using the best in AWS services.

Added value

This Proof-of-Concept (PoC) provided Vodafone with a new workflow to dramatically increase the success rate of product matching against one centralised source. Reducing the need for human intervention against widespread discrepancies, as well as enabling a ML solution that can scale, adapt and become even more accurate over time.

1 week

For ideation to succesful PoC completion and testing.

Time to value

Time is often of the essence when dealing with solutions for global, active companies, like Vodafone. We worked quickly to assess the challenge, plan the AWS architecture, build, test and deploy the solution. Solving a specific, but harmful challenge, within a single business week.

Machine learning adoption

By using AWS Glue Transforms, Vodafone were setting themselves up for succesful reproduction, of a workflow that could be beneficial to many areas of their business. They’d already seen the benefits of intelligent document processing (IDP), in a past project with Firemind. Now, armed with two unique ML processes, they can better prepare for further scalable, resilient and smart workflows, using the AWS cloud.

High transaction workloads

11TB of open source data is no joke! And having a business that needs to scan, update and address edits and changes to such a vast amount takes some high transaction workloads. This project showcased the next generation usage of optimised storage solutions, with results that will have a direct effect on the future of SCANOSS and the services they provide to their customer base.

Customer satisfaction

“Firemind is a a great partner in executing our digitalisation strategy. We have implemented BI & ML solutions in AWS, that have proved instrumental with our Supply Chain visibility, driving actions as response to the global industry challenges. Advantages of working with Firemind are the great responses to unexpected events, always best effort resolution, flexibility and access to innovative technologies and experts, with a dedicated team working with us, to deliver the best solutions for the business.”

Asmoro Utomo

Analytics Lead & Operations Analytics Manager

How can we help you?

Experiencing challenges in matching descriptions or SKUs across a global product range? Reach out to our specialists today and see what we can build for you.

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