CATEGORY: DW Design, Administration & Management

REVIEWER: Greg Northrup, IS senior manager for The Dannon Company.

BACKGROUND: The Dannon Company, Inc. is a leading national producer of yogurt products in the United States with corporate headquarters in Tarrytown, NY, and plants in Minster, OH; Fort Worth, TX; and West Jordan, UT. With a strong commitment to high-quality, wholesome, nutritious and innovative products, Dannon produces approximately six million cups of yogurt each day in nearly 100 flavors, styles and sizes.

PLATFORMS: The Informatica data integration platform currently runs on a Hewlett-Packard UNIX system.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The overarching objective was to reduce the time frame for delivering analytic information to end users throughout Dannon. The Dannon IT staff had previously been writing custom integration code that allowed us to gain insight into products, sales and customers. This code required weeks or months to create, and the resulting system was always time-consuming and expensive to maintain. Significantly, the Informatica data integration platform enabled Dannon to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by reducing the resources of database administrators and programmers. Overall, IT resources for this project were reduced by approximately 30 percent. The product is easy to install, use and maintain; therefore, Dannon was able to deploy valuable IT resources on other projects.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Informatica data integration platform automatically consolidates data from a wide variety of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other systems throughout Dannon, including financial, trade-management and order-management systems. Anyone in the company requiring information can access a single repository containing granular information regarding products, customers and sales. The scalable Informatica platform ensures the consistency of the massive amounts of data integrated from these myriad sources and accelerates the process of producing meaningful analytics in the face of changing data sources, mounting information volumes and evolving information needs. The Informatica product's ability to provide real-time analytics allows Dannon to more quickly respond to user demands for timely information across the enterprise value chain. The result has been faster, more insightful business decisions. The solution relieves the IT group from having to write custom code and allows us to accomplish similar results in a fraction of the time. Dannon is pleased with the performance of Informatica's data integration platform and plans to evaluate other Informatica products.

STRENGTHS: The Informatica data integration platform is reliable, easy-to-use and functions as promised. Implemented within three months, the product has saved Dannon time, money and resources.

WEAKNESSES: A few shortcomings noted in the 4.7 version may have already been addressed in version 5.1. These were the inability to copy a session to a different folder, copy more than one mapping at a time and handle multiple record formats in a single flat file.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Dannon evaluated several different data warehousing solutions before choosing the Informatica platform. The company also sought advice from analyst organizations. Informatica gave a great initial presentation, providing solid proof of concept. Dannon was pleased with the Informatica sales rep and the overall support received.

DELIVERABLES: The Informatica system consolidates data from a variety of information systems throughout Dannon, combining this information into a single repository of information on products, customers, sales, etc.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The Informatica sales rep worked very closely with Dannon before, during and after the sale. In general, the Dannon IT staff was very impressed by the responsiveness of the company.

DOCUMENTATION: Informatica's documentation was more complete and easier to understand than most. We used the documentation to get up and running and had no problems.

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