PLATFORMS: OshKosh B'Gosh chose AS/400e series (Model S20), Cognos PowerPlay and Impromptu, DataMirror Transformation Server for the AS/400, as well as the Internet Connection for AS/400 from IBM for its data warehouse environment.
BACKGROUND: OshKosh B'Gosh, Inc., was founded in 1895 in OshKosh, Wisconsin, as a manufacturer of rugged adult apparel. It is a $400 million+ growth company, best known as a manufacturer and marketer of children's wear.
PROBLEM SOLVED: OshKosh B'Gosh had difficulty keeping track of its wide range of products with different sets of consumer buying needs around the world. One of the key issues that needed to be solved was the ability to analyze sales and product trends by location. Sales trends needed to be understood by sales managers in order to assist customers with their future purchases, as well as to make this information available for assistance in future product design. While OshKosh B'Gosh collected a variety of data from its retailers, it was difficult to use in the decision-making process because it was not organized efficiently.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: This AS/400 solution has allowed OshKosh B'Gosh to rapidly build a data warehouse environment with their existing staff. The single architecture (for OLTP and data warehouse applications) provides OshKosh B'Gosh with an IS environment that is simple to manage, rapidly moving data into the warehouse for real-time decision making. The Internet connection capability of the AS/400 allows remote sales managers to access and download their own sales information from the company's intranet using a standard Web- browser interface. This allows all of their corporate data to be formatted and cleansed at one central location, while giving each user their own customized "cube of data" based upon their area of responsibility or on the type of analysis they are performing.
STRENGTHS: OshKosh B'Gosh was able to leverage its existing AS/400 skills to get important sales and cancellation analysis warehousing applications up and running in less than four months. AS/400e series provides a robust server optimized for high performance data access in a networked environment.
WEAKNESSES: The major weakness of the solution is that the Cognos PowerPlay product used to generate the "cube" does not run natively on the AS/400. Cognos PowerPlay requires that ODBC be used to access the DB2/400 database.
SELECTION CRITERIA: The MIS department chose the AS/400e series to leverage its knowledge of the AS/400 to get the data warehousing solution implemented as quickly as possible. The company wanted to focus on solving the business problem, not spend time integrating technology from different vendors when an existing solution was available that took advantage of our skills and knowledge base.
DELIVERABLES: Executives can now spot trends in a matter of minutes and then determine appropriate action plans in real-time fashion. OshKosh B'Gosh uses the warehouse to build a demand forecast for the current season, as well as future seasons, by geography and product line. Since each user has their own customized data, which comes from one central source, they have eliminated any discrepancies, which was a recurring problem prior to their AS/400 data warehouse implementation. OshKosh B'Gosh's second departmental warehouse application is for cancellation analysis, allowing local and central support staffs to determine the reasons for order cancellation and whether it is product, manufacturing or sourcing related--all in 15 minutes.
VENDOR SUPPORT: All vendors involved in the solution during the initial development phase as well as each enhancement have provided excellent support.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation provided was very good.
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