Companies need the power of AI to survive and thrive. Ocula Technologies enables ecommerce leaders to harness the power of AI to make proactive and profitable business decisions, in a competitive market where they can’t afford to wait. We talked to Thomas McKenna, CEO and Co-Founder, and Dr. Gregory Fletcher, CTO and Co-Founder at Ocula Technologies, to understand how they optimize data using Snowflake’s Data Cloud.
Ecommerce is an increasingly critical part of most businesses’ operations, with ecommerce leaders quickly being seen as the most important people in the business. Having access to unique insights based on multiple data sets is now no longer just a nice to have; it’s an operational necessity.
Ocula Technologies lives and breathes ecommerce data optimization. With its teams spread between Belfast and London, the company is on a mission to make AI actionable—helping decision-makers optimize performance through clear, prioritized recommendations.
“Our platform has three initial insight modules: conversion rate optimization, price optimization, and customer intelligence,” said Thomas McKenna, CEO and Co-Founder at Ocula Technologies. “Before the company even existed, we asked: how do we get the right data into our platform quickly and deploy targeted AI modules that run at scale?”
Dr. Gregory Fletcher, CTO and Co-Founder at Ocula Technologies, described the company’s process during its inception: “As a startup optimization platform aiming to democratize large-scale ecommerce data science, we knew we’d have to deliver for our customers from the offset—this meant we needed to develop our architecture at speed. But after initially building our environment on AWS PostgreSQL, we realized we needed greater flexibility and real-time multiple data source aggregation.”
While many of the company’s data engineering and data science teams had experience using Snowflake’s platform in previous roles, Ocula Technologies carried out an in-depth evaluation of potential solutions as part of its due diligence. The company landed on Snowflake for its ability to scale elastically, its flexibility for continuous development of new products, and several of the platform’s nuanced tools—such as Time Travel, Zero-Copy Cloning, and Snowpipe—for greater efficiency, and data quality and protection.
A wealth of data automatically processed in a single platform
Following the migration of its data warehouse to Snowflake, Ocula Technologies has already noticed significant performance and cost benefits. “Performance is good so far; Snowflake is more than fit for purpose,” said Fletcher. “The billing model is very flexible, and we received lots of architecture support from Snowflake.”
It’s this support that McKenna and Fletcher sought just before migration through the Snowflake for Startups program. With a dedicated account manager and access to Snowflake engineers, Ocula Technologies could quickly design its architecture to its exact needs. “While we’d almost decided to move our data to Snowflake, having access to the startup program really was the cherry on top,” explained McKenna. “Buying technology can often be a faceless exercise. But with Snowflake, we have a close relationship the likes of which we don’t have with any other vendor. The program also helps us with our go-to-market planning and keeps us up to date with new features. We’re even hoping to gain insights into other similar organizations working with Snowflake.”
Seamless third-party integrations and automated data cleansing
With its need for sophisticated machine learning, optimization APIs, and rapid time to market, Ocula Technologies is taking full advantage of the third-party integration capabilities in Snowflake’s Data Cloud. “A core philosophy of Ocula Technologies is that value-driving AI should be accessible within days, not weeks and months,” said Fletcher. “Speed to setup is therefore fundamental to everything we design and build.” The company can also now leverage comprehensive knowledge graphs to simplify its data queries.
The bulk of Ocula Technologies’ data comes in the form of first-party data feeds from its clients. By using Snowflake’s automated ingestion processes, the company can clean and sort a wide range of data formats on the fly, improving data processing efficiency and quality and reducing the entry barriers for its clients.
Quicker added value and faster data ingestion
The new platform performs much better than McKenna and Fletcher expected, and their clients have also noticed no difference in the level of service, showing just how seamless the migration process has been. “We found that we could ingest millions of records 60x faster than the pre-Snowflake iteration of the platform,” said McKenna.
Ocula Technologies has also onboarded several highly skilled data engineers to the platform in record time. “The ease with which we’ve been able to upskill our engineers has really surprised us—and it’s been so quick,” said McKenna. “It’s helped us hit our sprint goals much quicker, enabling our team to complete more value-added activities than expected.”
A bright future based on everything the Data Cloud has to offer
From streaming real-time data using Snowpark to exploring the benefits of Snowflake Marketplace, Ocula Technologies has mapped a comprehensive plan for its future.
The company is eager to reap the benefits of advanced data science techniques. Ocula Technologies is exploring dynamic data mapping to develop its platform’s real-time optimization capabilities, making it more responsive to external factors. For example, by aggregating and blending a wide range of real-time data sources into its sports team clients’ pricing data, its platform will have the ability to automatically update ticket prices based on nuanced factors such as a single team sheet or even a player missing a match.
Ocula Technologies also plans to take advantage of secure data replication and sharing between global regions in Snowflake’s Data Cloud—allowing the company to confidently enter new markets across Asia and beyond.
And it’s not just data where Ocula Technologies is excelling. McKenna explains that Snowflake’s Data Cloud is also helping him get the most from his hand-selected team of experts: “We have a very high bar for new employees—they’re all experts in their fields. We empower everyone to innovate and encourage constant conversations about data. We’re finding that many people are attracted to the fact they can get hands on with Snowflake and do something meaningful with it. It’s one of the many reasons why we’re looking to expand our platform’s reach across supply chain and inventory optimization.”