REVIEWER: David Donovan, IT manager, Retail Brand Alliance-Brooks Brothers.

BACKGROUND: Established in 1818, Brooks Brothers is one of America’s oldest and most esteemed retailers, specializing in men’s and women’s fine classic clothing. The company operates about 210 retail and factory stores in the U.S. and, through partnerships abroad, operates more than 120 stores internationally, including Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, UK and China. Brooks Brothers is a division of privately owned Retail Brand Alliance Inc. (RBA).

PLATFORMS: HP server with four 32-bit processors, running Windows 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: In 2005, Brooks Brothers began to evaluate how it could use existing sources of data to provide a wide range of reports to executives and managers within its retail operations. The company had a wide range of data sources in place that already provided various basic historical reports, but the new system had three additional requirements: to present a single, timely view of the data; to serve the needs of a broader range of professionals; and to incorporate sophisticated analytics for more effective use of the information. The persona-based system was to produce more than 100 reports, some on a daily basis, for users that included members of the merchant, planning and allocation, finance, marketing, field and executive teams. SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) Server was chosen, and the result was a fundamental change in the way Brooks Brothers conducted its business. Once SAS Enterprise BI Server was deployed, company decision-makers were able to respond more quickly and accurately to the dynamic retail market. Store managers were previously emailed large Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with a nearly overwhelming amount of data, some of which was only relevant to other stores. With SAS Enterprise BI Server, store managers now have a highly customized, concise performance report with critical data on summary regional results, specific store performance, category performance, sales associate performance and customer preferences, allowing each manager to focus only on the information that matters. Company executives also have the power to go behind the raw numbers and consider key performance indicators. The new software gave Brooks Brothers the power to offer an enhanced shopping experience, leading to increased customer loyalty.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SAS provides information so it can be directly applied to managing Brooks Brothers most effectively. SAS Enterprise BI Server provides value through deliverables such as executive dashboards for performance summaries, online data drill-down to find root causes of business issues, Web-based reports that can be quickly delivered to dispersed field managers and a single view of all corporate data so that the entire Brooks Brothers team is working from the same playbook.

STRENGTHS: The biggest strengths of the SAS solution are its flexibility, ease of use, superior data management and integrated analytics. SAS’ strong set of retail offerings were also an asset that Brooks Brothers could not ignore. Furthermore, SAS Enterprise BI Server offers a high level of end-user acceptance at Brooks Brothers because of its ability to simply integrate with familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications.

WEAKNESSES: If anything, the SAS Enterprise BI Server offers much more power than we need. As a modestly sized organization, the software offers much more functionality than we are able to employ.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Brooks Brothers chose SAS Enterprise BI Server on the basis of several criteria: vendor stability, completeness of BI vision, software functionality, total cost of operation and support for legacy data.

DELIVERABLES: SAS Enterprise BI currently provides Brooks Brothers executives and managers with more than 100 deliverables that help run the retailer more effectively. The number of deliverables produced by SAS is constantly increasing as Brooks Brothers takes greater advantage of this powerful system.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Support has far exceeded Brooks Brothers’ expectations. For a deployment that was expected to include just over 100 users, SAS has provided an incredible level of post-sale and post-deployment support. A dynamic production BI environment such as is in place at Brooks Brothers can’t wait around for a support organization to respond when it has a chance, and SAS has consistently delivered support when needed.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is easy to follow and understand. Brooks Brothers has also taken great advantage of the extensive educational offerings from SAS. This investment in SAS education has provided excellent returns in terms of the ability to derive value from the SAS Enterprise BI Server.

SAS Enterprise Business Intelligence Server
SAS Institute Inc.
100 SAS Campus Drive
Cary, NC 27513
(919) 677-8000
http://www.sas.com/

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