Select Page

Nebraska Furniture Mart

Case Study

Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) was founded in 1937 and is the largest home furnishing store in North America selling furniture, flooring, appliances, and electronics. They are part of the Berkshire Hathaway Group. NFM has an initiative to increase data literacy and make better data-driven decisions.

Business Need/Challenge

Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) wanted to increase the success of its business by making more data-driven decisions that impact customers, revenue, and business operations. The marketing, merchandising, sales, and operations business units were siloed organizations that used different definitions for customers and other key terms. They also had challenges finding the data and the right people who had more detail about the data. Quite often, they didn’t even know what data existed in the first place.

Understanding the potential of their existing data, NFM put an emphasis on creating a data literate organization so that they could have one set of definitions and context around their data. NFM also wanted one-place that business users could utilize to find and understand data and trust that they are using the correct terms for the right metrics.


To support data literacy and cross-organization access to data, NFM needed a solution that provided visibility to the data they have, context to ensure understanding and proper use of definitions, as well as, enable their business users to self-serve.

Alation’s ability to capture and share the business metadata, provides SMEs with a place to share context via articles, and its collaborative functionality allowed NFM to share knowledge across its different business units. Alation’s open APIs also allowed NFM to easily connect to their homegrown ERP system and their custom metadata repository that housed most of their customer data to build field-level lineage that is viewable and understandable in Alation.

NFM was attracted to Alation’s ease-of-use interface and natural language search functionality, making it easy for anyone – technical or not – to find the data they need.  They refer to Alation as “Google for their data.”


Using Alation’s Data Flows within the lineage capabilities, NFM is beginning to understand their data journey in workflow and use this knowledge to easily find certified data to perform better customer impact analysis. By making the data they have visible, NFM is able to make connections to data they may not have been able to make before allowing them to make better decisions quicker.

Nebraska Furniture Mart + Alation

At NFM, Alation is enabling us to:

  • Break down silos across business units to create a more collaborative and data-literate organization
  • Enable self-service access to data with context for understanding
  • Connect to homegrown ERP system and custom metadata repository
  • Ability to show field level lineage
  • Provide more accurate customer impact analyses
Alation helps make our organization more data literate and more data cognizant instead of relying on experience and intuition. The end result helps with better decisions that impact customers and business operations and optimization. Jeremy Busselman


Industry: Retail/Ecommerce

Data Environment:

  • Homegrown ERP System
  • SQL Server
  • Tableau