The California Strawberry Commission Deploys Industry-Wide Business Intelligence Reports on Microsoft Azure

Cloud Solution Overview

Products and Services

  • SQL Azure
  • Microsoft Azure IaaS
  • SQL Server Reporting Services

Industry

Agriculture/Public Sector

Organization Size

Medium (50-999 Employees)

Country

United States

Stan Massat

California Strawberry Commission

"The ability to provide accurate, up-to-date market data to our stakeholders is a critical function of the California Strawberry Commission.”

Client Profile: California Strawberry Commission

The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency located in Northern California. One of their central missions is to conduct research that supports California’s strawberry industry. With an emphasis on sustainable farming practices, the commission works with strategic partners to focus on:

  • Production and nutrition research
  • Food safety training and education
  • Marketing and communications
  • Trade relations
  • Public policy

Learn more about the California Strawberry Commission.

Striving for Up-to-Date Data and Increased Accessibility

Charged with supporting a $2.5 billion industry, the California Strawberry Commission has numerous constituents (growers, shippers, retailers, etc.) who are all focused on growing the California berry and fruit market while keeping it efficient. As part of this effort, the California Strawberry Commission needs to ensure that all constituents receive up-to-date market data such as pricing and volume movement.

Additionally, berry growers and shippers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. They require data regardless of their location, including in the fields with their crews. And they need to receive that data on a wide range of mobile devices which use many different platforms and display sizes.

Finally, the commission needed a solution that would allow them to import data daily from the USDA so that all their constituents would have the most up-to-date berry market information possible.

Stratus Innovations Group’s Cloud-Based Solution

The California Strawberry Commission engaged Stratus Innovations Group as a follow-up after we had utilized Office 365 and System Center to enhance and extend their current business intelligence solution.

To address the commission’s needs, Stratus Innovations Group deployed a solution that included a Microsoft Azure Windows Virtual Machine running SQL Server and acting as the staging server. That, in turn, fed an SQL Azure database with several SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports, including:

• Daily Report
• District Report
• National Berry Report

The SQL staging involved an automated ETL (extract, transform, and load) process where the commission would simply export volume and pricing Excel spreadsheets from the USDA site and drop them into a file on the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine running SQL Server. The ETL process would then incorporate various business rules and logic scripts to import this data into the SQL Azure environment. Then it would run the SSRS reports.

Finally, we developed a customized application that allowed the commission to directly edit the SQL Azure production data tables so they could address any errors or omissions in the USDA data imports.

Results: Maximized Efficiency, Real-Time Reporting, and Unrestricted Access

The primary benefit to the California Strawberry Commission has been the ability to quickly and easily import the latest USDA market data into their SSRS reports. This allows market constituents to get the latest and most accurate data, which informs their business decisions about planting, shipping, marketing, and more. Once the commission uploads the exported USDA spreadsheets, the production SSRS reports reflect the new data within minutes.

Additionally, since this reporting solution is hosted in the Microsoft Azure environment, the commission’s constituents only need internet connectivity via a cellular network, Wi-Fi, or their corporate network in order to run these reports and get real-time data — regardless of their location or computing device.

Lastly, the commission can now update, in real-time, the production SQL Azure database tables and correct any current-day errors or typos that may come from the USDA. This ensures that reports do not have any erroneous or invalid data.

Is Your Business Struggling With Reporting and Communication? Stratus Innovations Group Can Help!

Our singular focus and purpose is helping your business be more profitable and efficient. To learn more about how a customized cloud-based solution could help your business communicate with stakeholders, clients, and customers, contact Stratus Innovations Group today!

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