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How grocery chain H-E-B uses the Grafana Enterprise Stack to improve business

Michelle Tan

Michelle Tan 24 Jun 2021 3 min read


H-E-B is one of the largest grocery chains in the U.S. that works with roughly 137,000 partners to achieve more than $32 billion in sales each year. 

In the past decade, the 116-year-old, Texas-based grocer has undergone a digital transformation to reinvent and expand its business, offering services such as online bakery orders, curbside pick-up, and grocery delivery from its 420 stores. And during the pandemic, as the world adjusted to a WFH norm and grocery stores were challenged to keep up with relentless demand, H-E-B increased sales more than 300%.

As business continues to boom, so does the need to ensure that customers have a seamless experience online and in stores. H-E-B Digital site reliability engineers Clif Smith and Sarah Bortnem teamed up at GrafanaCONline 2021 to showcase how the Grafana Enterprise Stack unites all of H-E-B’s data flows from various observability tools to create a central “single pane of glass" that helps improve best practices throughout the company. 

In their talk titled “Grafana Enterprise, the central square of observability at H-E-B digital,” Smith walked through how Grafana Enterprise streamlined discussions with internal partners in which all the stakeholders would often use different monitoring and logging tools that were configured in different ways, and therefore came to different conclusions. 

“Grafana allows you to intertwine and interact with data from the various tools you’re already paying for or likely will be soon,” Smith explained. “Now it’s in a central location, spanning numerous data sources and using a common language for creation as well as consumption.”

Now when H-E-B works with key stakeholders, they lean on Grafana Enterprise’s vast plugin architecture as well as out of the box features such as annotations and alerts to bring together information from disparate data sources into one comprehensive and collaborative view. 

“In doing so, conversations can grow in volume and expertise as employees at all levels are empowered to actively engage with the data they already have,” said Smith.  

The team then provided a more detailed look at Grafana Enterprise in action at H-E-B. 

Bortnem showcased different Grafana dashboards such as how they use Pager Duty as annotations to help determine the root cause of an incident and a dashboard that monitors refrigeration systems to improve notifications and decrease waste. 

The H-E-B SRE team also leverages Grafana to provide them with a singular dashboard view of their New Relic and Big Query data in order to monitor load time for content on their most viewed and clicked on pages to ensure an optimal digital experience for customers. And when issues do arise, there’s an incident management dashboard (above) that tracks the number of incidents that occur and the size and duration of meetings created to resolve these incidents using Jira and Zoom. 

Understanding all relevant data —and the relationships between them — is vitally important to H-E-B’s operations. Thanks to the Grafana Enterprise stack, the H-E-B team said it can now seamlessly correlate insights among metrics and logs and take actionable steps to improve performance. 

“Ultimately all of these examples show information that has always existed for us, but it was underutilized in the decision making at the company,” Bortnem said. “Data transparency and availability have been incredible perks of Grafana at H-E-B.”

To learn more about how Grafana Enterprise is used at H-E-B, watch the full talk here and check out all of the GrafanaCONline 2021 sessions on demand.

You can read more about Grafana Enterprise on the website and contact us if you’d like to try it out!