BACKGROUND: Bausch & Lomb Incorporated is the preeminent global technology-based healthcare company for the eye, dedicated to helping consumers see, look and feel better through innovative technology and design. Its core business units include soft and rigid gas permeable contact lenses, lens-care products, ophthalmic surgical and pharmaceutical products.

PLATFORMS: Bausch & Lomb runs its Oracle data warehouse on a Hewlett Packard UNIX server. The client is an HP desktop running Windows NT.

PROBLEM SOLVED: As a leading market manufacturer, Bausch & Lomb has volumes of disparate information located on various systems throughout the global organization. A solution was needed to consolidate and standardize the various sources of information for analysis of product sales, inventory and customer profiles. Bausch & Lomb chose Oracle Warehouse Builder to support customer relationship management (CRM) and global inventory management and planning.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Oracle Warehouse Builder automates much of the work that goes into creating a powerful single data store for business analysis. It can combine large volumes of existing data from the most pervasive data sources such as relational, mainframe or flat-file databases, the Internet and enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM applications. After collecting the data, Oracle Warehouse Builder cleans, transforms and loads the data into our Oracle8i-based data warehouse. The product enables us to build a data warehouse infrastructure that will support our management decision-making requirements. Because of the data integration features in Oracle Warehouse Builder, we can easily pull data from our legacy system and ERP data repositories into our warehouse. The product also integrates extremely well with Oracle8i, allowing us to build high-level aggregate summaries directly into the database using specific features such as materialized views and dimension capabilities. Consequently, we will have a consolidated view of our customers, revenue and inventory.

STRENGTHS: Ease of use and an integrated product solution drew us to Oracle Warehouse Builder. The product's graphical user interface is one of its most visible strengths with a Wizard-driven process including the star schema wizard. Oracle Warehouse Builder's tight marriage with Oracle8i allows developers to specify indexes, summary tables and partitions directly within Oracle Warehouse Builder. The product also provides automatic code generation with a validation process for error-free code. Because we can save time by cutting out code maintenance, we'll be able to spend time adding other subject areas to our enterprise data warehouse.

WEAKNESSES: The Oracle Warehouse Builder meta data bridges to end-user tools were in alpha. Therefore, the option to utilize them for creating the end-user layer for business intelligence tool integration was unavailable. The current release of the product lacks multi-developer capability, which is being addressed in the next release. Also, we would prefer support for the creation of more business logic within Oracle Warehouse Builder instead of having to do this in PL/SQL or Java.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Although we evaluated several extraction, transfer, load (ETL) products, we chose Oracle for several reasons:

  • Tight integration with the database enables the use of Oracle8i as a transformation engine, eliminating the need for an additional transformation server. Bausch & Lomb is expecting to grow dramatically, which will result in a significant increase in the amount of data the company has to track and manage. By using Oracle Warehouse Builder, the company is able to build a data warehouse that we expect to scale significantly.
  • Oracle Warehouse Builder integrates the areas that were previously addressed by separate tools into one common environment. The many functions include modeling and design, data extraction, movement and loading, aggregation, meta data management and integration of analysis tools.
  • Oracle Warehouse Builder provides an easy-to-use and easy-to- implement framework for our Bausch & Lomb enterprise data warehouse architecture.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Bausch & Lomb is extremely happy with the support provided by Oracle. Issues faced by Bausch & Lomb regarding this product were very positively received and addressed by Oracle.

DOCUMENTATION: The help and wizard capabilities within Oracle Warehouse Builder significantly aid the development process. The product also comes with standard documentation.

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