The Elastic Stack, along with Elastic's X-Pack commercial extensions for security, monitoring, alerting, reporting and Graph, enable Sprint to make structured and unstructured data usable for the business. Sprint uses the Elastic Stack to aggregate real-time metrics and data from the company's Retail Management and Store Operations applications and hundreds of APIs running on thousands of servers. That data shown in more than 200 dashboards represents 3 billion events per day from logs, databases, emails, syslogs, test messages, and internal and vendor application APIs.
"What Google did for the Internet, the Elastic Stack does for Sprint's machine data," said Stroebel. With the Elastic Stack, Sprint can search 38B unique production documents in under a second. In some instances, as many as 100,000 documents are indexed every second.
The ultimate objective for Sprint is to see how the company is performing on any given day, especially around sales.
Take the sales dashboard with heat map that hangs from the CEO's wall, for example. Before, IT relied on enterprise-level data warehousing tools (which are by definition 24 hours behind), to determine if there was a drop in sales. This required a lengthy process of massaging the data, putting it into the right tables, and correlating it with business metrics. What used to take 36 hours is now available in mere seconds. Any employee — with different controls on data viewing — can see real-time sales volumes and trends, including percentage increase (changes to green) or decrease (changes to red) of phones sold. And in an upcoming project enhancement, Sprint plans to provide customer activity volume segmented by store and employee staffing targets.
The Sprint National Retail team is now able to easily track sell-through drivers and metrics for its store operations in real time: What's a store's network latency? What's the average search response time in milliseconds? How many customers are connected to Wi-Fi? How many units is it selling, and which are selling better than others? Sprint also monitors the usage of its demo model handsets every 15 minutes to understand how devices are being used by customers and to identify any connectivity issues that directly impact sell-through.
Another example comes from the Wholesale Sales team, which aggregates data (including production logs and activity levels across applications) to simplify management of hundreds of B2B relationships, all with varying contracts, activation volumes and service levels. Previously, it could take four to five days and intervention from the Sprint IT team to resolve a problem. Now, B2B partners have self-service tools to resolve issues in minutes — so they can get back to focusing on their core job rather than worrying about the root of a technical error.
The Elastic Stack has also helped Sprint improve customer satisfaction. Recent corporate initiatives have focused on the digitization of customer service — removing the friction in sales, marketing and support processes in order to deliver major cost savings and accelerate growth. Using the Elastic Stack, Sprint has been able to drive customers to its digital channels with new self-service apps that enable them to manage their accounts, purchase new handsets, equipment and accessories, and rapidly address any support issues. Sales and marketing dashboards track key sales and digital engagement figures in real time to identify aberrations in customer activity that may require immediate attention.
In addition, when marketing shared its customer journey model, the IT department found out from pulling customers' online experiences that the actual journeys weren't matching the expected model. To service the customer better, Sprint redesigned the site and moved content. They would never have caught the discrepancies without Elasticsearch and Kibana.