Interesting Business Intelligence & Data Warehousing Stories from the Retail Industry

Retailer Drives Nationwide Selling Strategy and Cuts TCO by $600,000 with BI Solution: Stein Mart, a nationwide department store, needed better access to business data to set prices each week. By implementing a Microsoft data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) solution, the company can manage information more efficiently and cut reporting time from hours to minutes. The solution is easy to use and manage, and the company has cut its total cost of ownership by more than 60 percent.

Retailer Expects $10 Million Profit Boost, Gets Better Sales Visibility with BI Solution: Pilot Flying J is a leading operator of travel centers across the United States. To gain more insight from its sales and labor data, the company implemented a new Microsoft business intelligence (BI) and reporting solution that provides more-detailed store-level views and other analytical improvements. As a result, one Pilot Flying J division expects a U.S.$10 million increase in profits, and the company’s BI team has reduced its report development time by 20 percent. The company’s managers can also use the solution to boost sales

Hotel Chain Uses Business Intelligence Tools to Guide Rapid Growth Across China: Super 8 Hotels (China) Co., Ltd. is growing rapidly in China but needed better tools for integrating, processing, and analyzing its growing data stores so that managers could make more-informed business decisions. The company deployed Microsoft SQL Server 2012 to gain a powerful and highly available data- processing foundation, easy-to-use business intelligence tools, and scalability into cloud environments. With the new solution, hotel managers can analyze the performance of individual properties and the Chinese business as a whole and also determine the best growth opportunities. By using SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn availability groups, Super 8 China can ensure high availability of business systems. And with the SQL Server 2012 support for cloud computing, the hotel chain can run its databases on premises or in a private or public cloud environment, to meet the changing needs of the business.

Distributor Chooses Microsoft BI over IBM, Cuts Deployment Time and Saves $100,000: Building Material Distributors (BMD) needed automated, real-time business intelligence (BI). In 2011, the company worked with third-party Pivotstream to deploy a hosted Microsoft BI solution. By doing so, BMD saved more than U.S.$100,000. It also dramatically sped deployment, saved 200 IT hours monthly, increased efficiency, and boosted competitive advantage.

Analytics Firm Develops Business Intelligence Solution for Retailers and Retail Property: Experian FootFall wanted to ensure its flagship solution—Site Analytics—could respond to new challenges faced by high-street retailers and organisations involved in retail property. Working with Microsoft Partner Hitachi Consulting, it is replacing the existing Oracle and Business Objects environment with an integrated architecture based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software and PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. This flexible, multilanguage architecture answers retailers’ and property owners’ demands for business intelligence (BI), helping them optimise store performance and sales. Hitachi Consulting designed the solution to help Experian FootFall rapidly respond to future market requirements, and take advantage of new technologies to enhance its customer offering.

Retailer Moves BI from SAP to Microsoft, Boosts Agility and Return on Investment: To increase agility with enhanced insight and faster processes, Patten Industries replaced SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse with a financial management and business intelligence (BI) solution based on the Microsoft platform and CODA Financials from UNIT4. As a result, Patten has improved agility, increased return on investment, given users direct data access with enhanced security, sped processes, and increased reliability.

Kimberly-Clark Cuts TCO by 30 Percent and Boosts Sales by 8 Percent with BI Solution: Global manufacturer Kimberly-Clark needed to accelerate access to business intelligence (BI) based on data from numerous systems so that it could speed efficiency and reduce costs. At its Brazilian subsidiary in 2008, the company deployed a mission-critical BI solution on the Microsoft platform that consolidates disparate data and provides one set of BI tools. As a result, Kimberly-Clark simplified IT and cut its total cost of ownership by 30 percent. It also increased productivity by 30 percent, transaction processing by 50 percent, and sales by 8 percent.

Trading Company Improves Efficiency with Enhanced Data Analysis and Reporting: Based in Bangkok, Yip In Tsoi & Jacks Ltd. is a leading Thai trader and manufacturer that specializes in trading fertilizers, agrochemical products, and a range of other products. Because the company’s business divisions are separate, it was difficult and time-consuming for managers to analyze sales data and create up-to-date reports. To solve those business challenges, Yip In Tsoi & Jacks worked with sister company Yip In Tsoi Consulting Co., Ltd. to implement a business intelligence solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and Microsoft Office 2010. Now managers in the company’s fertilizer product department can easily view consolidated sales data and create timely analytical reports. As a result, they can make faster and more accurate business decisions. The solution also eases IT management and can be expanded into additional business areas.

South African Retailer Enhances BI, Achieves Data Compression, and Speeds Performance: Edcon, South Africa’s largest nonfood retailer, uses business intelligence (BI) as an important asset in managing its operations. With 50 terabytes of BI growing by 18 terabytes a year, Edcon needed an enterprise-grade BI solution that included data compression and fast performance. Upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise helped Edcon create an enterprise-grade solution for its BI while gaining increased performance and data compression

Manufacturer of Office Supplies Gains Faster Data Access, Cuts BI Costs by 250 Percent: To remain competitive in the paper-filing supplies market, the Smead Manufacturing Company relies on business intelligence (BI). A Cognos BI solution met basic requirements but was costly, slow, and complicated. Smead plans to deploy a Microsoft BI solution that offers integrated, intuitive tools and speeds cube processing time by 300 percent. The Microsoft solution will save Smead 250 percent on BI-related costs over the next five years.

Global Retailer Boosts Agility and Efficiency, Simplifies Data Access and Reporting: To improve agility and data transparency, clothing retailer Tema Mağazacılık deployed a report generation and distribution solution based on the Microsoft platform. Flexible and easy to use, the mission-critical solution improves efficiency, making it possible for employees to create reports with charts and graphics in minutes. It also speeds access to 5 terabytes of data, facilitates consistency, and increases control over information.

Online Travel Firm Improves Availability and Service with Data Management Solution: When its global customer base tripled, Agoda, an online hotel reservation service, needed to improve the consistency and availability of its 20 terabytes of data. To improve service, the company streamlined data replication across multiple data centers with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. Agoda is also using SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services and SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services to enhance its business intelligence. Transactional data replication has reduced the time it takes to make companywide updates from a day to a few seconds and has helped the company implement a seamless disaster recovery strategy. Agoda has improved business insight and IT management. And with higher availability, the company is offering better customer service.

Hotel Chain Accelerates Reporting and Budget Processes with New BI Tools: Dedeman Hotels and Resorts International needed to improve the efficiency of its reporting and budget processes. The company deployed beta versions of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft PowerPivot business intelligence tools, and the beta version of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 so employees could share and analyze data faster and more effectively. The easy-to-use solution also provides controls over access to sensitive corporate information.

Food-Service Company Reduces Time for Custom Analysis from Weeks to Hours: A leading U.S. food-service distributor needed to react more quickly to changes in market and customer data stored in its ERP and CRM systems. The company was using third-party business intelligence software, but creating new analysis models required formal, time-consuming IT projects. To address this issue, the company deployed Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. Business users can now perform custom data analysis using familiar Microsoft Excel tools, without the need for IT intervention. Custom analysis now takes hours instead of weeks or months. Faster and more flexible data analysis will help retain customers and obtain new business, and eliminating third-party BI software will save U.S.$75,000 a year. The company also expects to save $450,000 by using SQL Server 2008 R2 data and backup compression features and $250,000 by migrating its data warehouse from IBM DB2 to SQL Server 2008

Multichannel Retailer Enriches Data, Saves Money, and Decentralizes Decision Making: Studio Moderna sells products in 20 Central and Eastern European countries through multiple sales channels, including television, the Internet, telemarketing call centers, and retail outlets. The company’s complex operations require fast and decentralized decision making—which places heavy demands on its IT systems. In upgrading its data management software, Studio Moderna sought to better unify data from disparate sources. The company will implement Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, which works with Microsoft Excel 2010 for business intelligence and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for collaboration. The new software will consolidate data from multiple IT systems into “one version of the truth,” helping employees make decisions more quickly and reliably. The solution is cost-effective and will help employees do their jobs with less reliance on the IT department.

Online Retailer Boosts Productivity with Self-Service Business Intelligence Solution: wanted to provide self-service business intelligence capabilities to improve decision making and enhance the customer experience. In 2010, the company deployed Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, Office Professional 2010, and SharePoint Server 2010. Now, customers can access the information they need and employees can use features such as Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel to boost productivity, raise service levels, and foster innovation.

Electronics Retailer Cuts Reporting Costs by up to 25 Percent with New BI System: Electronics retailer BCC tracks every in-store and online transaction with its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. But the system was so complicated that generating reports required outside assistance. To resolve this issue, the company implemented the business intelligence (BI) features in Microsoft SQL Server software. Now reports are generated in-house, and costs are as much as 25 percent lower.

Company Cuts Reporting Time by up to 99 Percent to 3 Seconds, and Boosts Scalability: Online digital entertainment company provides innovative offerings to nearly 2 million people. To facilitate growth and deliver reliable services regardless of system demand, needed a new mission-critical database solution. After evaluating options, upgraded its systems to Microsoft SQL Server 2012. By doing so, the company can render a report that used to take 17 minutes in just three seconds. It can also scale servers to support a virtually unlimited number of transactions and clients—quickly and affordably. In addition, can maintain multiple system copies in different locations, offload demand from production servers with secondary databases, speed system failover, restructure data for faster access, and simplify development. The company also expects to increase availability to 99.99 percent, cut total cost of ownership, and boost efficiency.

Retailer Delivers Data from 2,300 Stores in One Second with Scalable Microsoft Solution: To maintain competitiveness and support critical decision making, Svyaznoy needed to process data from its 2,300 mobile-phone stores more quickly and reliably. The company deployed Microsoft SQL Server 2012 for faster performance and integrated monitoring tools. Now, the company can scale as needed without upgrading its third-party enterprise resource planning software. Data arrives from 2,300 retail locations in one second, and administration is simple and intuitive.

Online Travel Firm Boosts Availability and Performance to Handle Peak Sales Volumes with Microsoft Solution: Sundio Group, a leading tour operator in the Netherlands, wanted to improve performance for its online reservation system. To speed searches and transactions, the company implemented a new Microsoft data management solution. As a result, Sundio Group has improved performance and availability, and it has built a platform for rapid business growth.

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