Big Lots Reduces the Problems of Big Data and Sales Audits

Shortly after Big Lots, the nation’s largest broadline closeout retailer, implemented SAP IS-Retail the company noticed that its retail stores were generating a lot of data. In fact, data was growing two to three times faster than what the company had initially estimated, and would reach 30-40 TB by the end of the year. This incredible increase in data volume was already causing performance problems, which would only get worse over time. Due to the year-round, high pressure nature of the retail business, the company needed to find a solution immediately and it needed to be able to be implemented quickly, during the company's very short SAP system maintenance windows. In addition, the large amount of data that was being generated with each retail sales transaction also made it difficult for the company to retrieve data for sales tax audits. The data extraction process was very manual and complex. Each audit inquiry required seven separate steps to extract data from both the SAP BW and the SAP ECC systems. To be able to respond within the 2 week time frame provided by auditors, the company needed to find a better, faster solution for extracting data. Solution Big Lots engaged Dolphin to help develop a Data Volume Management strategy to control growth of data in the SAP BW and ECC systems, enforce data retention requirements and improve performance. The solution provided:

  • Secure, low cost storage for archived data
  • Nearline storage for fast retrieval of archived data for analytics
  • Common infrastructure to support both BW and ECC
  • Fast and easy retrieval of data by users
  • Simplified reporting for Sales Audits
  • Data retention compliance with business requirements
The solution was implemented in phases. In the first phase, the company controlled its data growth by archiving its business complete data. In the second phase, the company addressed the performance issues by adding fast and flexible retrieval access to the archived data and custom reports. The sales tax audit report was created as part of this phase. Results The company was able to stabilize data volume growth in both the SAP BW and ECC systems and improve user productivity through faster system performance and elimination of manual steps in reporting. Benefits of the solution include:
  • Stablized database growth
  • 97% reduction of data with archived and nearline technology
  • Reduced time to complete sales queries to 5-10 seconds
  • Improved Sales audit responses to 1 day from 2 weeks
  • Improved sales reporting 200%
  • Reduced data growth rate by 90%
  • Increased user productivity with faster system performance and automated reporting
  • Satisfied retention and tax reporting requirements

Big Lots Reduces the Problems of Big Data and Sales Audits

Shortly after Big Lots, the nation’s largest broadline closeout retailer, implemented SAP IS-Retail the company noticed that its retail stores were generating a lot of data.

In fact, data was growing two to three times faster than what the company had initially estimated, and would reach 30-40 TB by the end of the year. This incredible increase in data volume was already causing performance problems, which would only get worse over time. Due to the year-round, high pressure nature of the retail business, the company needed to find a solution immediately and it needed to be able to be implemented quickly, during the company’s very short SAP system maintenance windows.

In addition, the large amount of data that was being generated with each retail sales transaction also made it difficult for the company to retrieve data for sales tax audits. The data extraction process was very manual and complex. Each audit inquiry required seven separate steps to extract data from both the SAP BW and the SAP ECC systems. To be able to respond within the 2 week time frame provided by auditors, the company needed to find a better, faster solution for extracting data.

Solution

Big Lots engaged Dolphin to help develop a Data Volume Management strategy to control growth of data in the SAP BW and ECC systems, enforce data retention requirements and improve performance. The solution provided:

  • Secure, low cost storage for archived data
  • Nearline storage for fast retrieval of archived data for analytics
  • Common infrastructure to support both BW and ECC
  • Fast and easy retrieval of data by users
  • Simplified reporting for Sales Audits
  • Data retention compliance with business requirements

The solution was implemented in phases. In the first phase, the company controlled its data growth by archiving its business complete data. In the second phase, the company addressed the performance issues by adding fast and flexible retrieval access to the archived data and custom reports. The sales tax audit report was created as part of this phase.

Results

The company was able to stabilize data volume growth in both the SAP BW and ECC systems and improve user productivity through faster system performance and elimination of manual steps in reporting. Benefits of the solution include:

  • Stablized database growth
  • 97% reduction of data with archived and nearline technology
  • Reduced time to complete sales queries to 5-10 seconds
  • Improved Sales audit responses to 1 day from 2 weeks
  • Improved sales reporting 200%
  • Reduced data growth rate by 90%
  • Increased user productivity with faster system performance and automated reporting
  • Satisfied retention and tax reporting requirements

9 Tips for Selecting and Implementing an ERP System

CIO, July 2014

Experts in ERP and change management share their tips on how to choose and deploy an ERP system to maximize your monetary and time investment. Plus steps you can take to improve the chances of workers will actually use the software.

Deploying an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is an expensive proposition, not just in terms of licensing dollars (SLA) and maintenance, but in terms of dedicated resources and time. And yet all too often, organizations, dazzled by vendor promises and hype — Deploy our ERP software and your manufacturing business will instantly run smoother and increase profits! — fail to come up with a viable long-term (or even short-term) roadmap.

Make a clear and extensive list of requirements before you start looking at vendors

“Begin by carefully defining the scope of your project,” says Ed Talerico, director, Industry & Solution Strategy, Infor, a provider of enterprise applications. “Focus on specific business processes and system requirements. The more specific you can be upfront, the more detailed your vendors can be in their proposals.”

“If you get one thing right, make it the up-front requirements gathering process,” says Brian Shannon, principal business process management architect, Dolphin Enterprise Solutions. “Few things derail project budgets and timelines as the ‘assumptive’ or absent requirements.” So make sure you engage with end users, IT and senior management.

“Too often, people select an ERP system based on factors such as price, current technology buzz or the system that is the flashiest,” adds Fresca. “But without a good fit, companies are left with expensive customization and bolted together solutions,” she notes. The solution: “Find an ERP system that is industry-specific, with tools and features designed to solve your business requirements. The ROI and long-term benefits of a good fitting system are extensive.”

To read the full article on CIO.com click here.

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Does ECM Still Add Value to your ERP Environment?

IT Knowledge Exchange, August 28, 2013
Dr. Werner Hopf

SAP has been at the forefront of ERP providers with its vision for supporting the “real-time enterprise.” For the last several years, the company has consistently been introducing technologies that are steering business strategy in this direction. Data, obviously, is at the core of this vision. More specifically, SAP’s vision is predicated upon helping businesses store, organize and leverage all this data in ways that dramatically enhance understanding, engagement and responsiveness to strategic objectives.

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