10 years, 10 iconic projects: Sales Driver Analysis for Arca Continental

10 years, 10 iconic projects: Sales Driver Analysis for Arca Continental

This year marks Neal Analytics’ 10th anniversary and we’ve come a long way from our start in 2011.  To celebrate this milestone, we decided to crack open the history books and look back at the 10 projects that made us who we are today.

What makes an iconic project? These are some of the “firsts” in Neal Analytics history – the first big project, the first time using a technology, the first award. They’re also the projects our team remembers fondly based on the challenges overcome, the solution built, and the experience gained.

Arca Continental

Arca Continental holds a special place in Neal Analytics’ history. This project was our first joint project with Microsoft, and a chance to show what the scrappy team of (back then) eight at Neal could do with big data and machine learning for a large customer outside of Microsoft.

The goal? Disambiguate sales drivers for Arca Continental – the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America, and one of the largest bottlers in the world.

  • Customer: Arca Continental
  • Year: 2015
  • Key technologies: Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory, Azure SQL, Power BI, Power Query for Excel, Microsoft Excel
  • Solution: Sales Driver Analysis

Project “Why?”

Project “Why?” was a business analytics solution created to understand sales variation of soft drinks across different markets and channels to drive growth. The solution relied heavily on data science, leveraging Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML) to take the sales driver analysis to the next level.

Azure ML released for public preview in 2014, which came in handy for this project. Neal used Azure ML to run more than 200 regression models with up to 85 features to take advantage of Arca Continental’s internal SAP data while also including external factors such as:

  • Demographic information
  • Weather
  • Employment
  • Competitor pricing
  • Holidays

With the internal and external data, Neal Analytics built the regression models to analyze sales variation, identify sales drivers, and understand how they all impact sales variations.


True to its name, Project “Why?” provided Arca Continental with the ability to answer why demand spiked in certain regions, or why one drink fared better with customers than another. With Neal Analytics’ solution, Arca Continental users could easily access, interact, and analyze the data in Excel and Azure ML. This provided the company with near real-time, self-service analytics to generate data-driven insights, discover new patterns, and improve decision-making.

Having big data and analytics at their fingertips gave Arca Continental the information needed to optimize its SKU portfolio and improve its customer engagement. Neal Analytics also ensured room for growth, as the regression models could be easily expanded and customized so that Arca Continental could continue its digital transformation journey with data.

Over time, this advanced analytics solution with its statistical approach to big data will transform the way we take business decisions through all business processes.

— Ruben Dario Torres Martinez, IT Manager, Arca Continental

Our work with Arca Continental gained recognition within the Microsoft ecosystem as the 2015 finalist for the Partner of the Year Big Data and Analytics award.

Microsoft partner of the year finalist award 2015

The experience of using Azure ML and big data for sales driver analysis at Arca Continental built the foundation for Neal Analytics’ solutions such as SKU Optimization and Advanced Forecasting, earning us a place in the Coca-Cola ecosystem and provided the foundation to winning Partner of the Year in 2017 for a similar project with Coke One North America!

Read the customer story here: Arca Continental: Big data boosts business for soft drink bottler

Find the rest of our iconic projects