CATEGORY: Data Quality, Profiling & Augmentation
REVIEWER: Sophia Ruiz, manager of data warehousing for Jenny Craig.
BACKGROUND: Founded in 1983, Jenny Craig, Inc. is one of the largest weight management service companies in the world. The company offers a comprehensive weight management program that helps clients learn how to eat the foods they want, increase their energy level through simple activity, and build more balance in their lives for optimal weight loss and well-being. Currently, 649 Jenny Craig Centres operate in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico and Guam.
PLATFORMS: Jenny Craig's current operational data store runs in an NT/SQL Server environment. The new environment will also be NT and SQL Server running on Compaq ProLiant quad-processor servers and Network Appliance network attached storage.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We're using software from Ascential Software Corporation to gain a 360-degree view of each Jenny Craig client and bring our outsourced direct marketing programs in house. In 2003, these moves saved the company an estimated $1 million in outsourcing and IT development costs alone. The suite has helped us build a new data warehouse that synthesizes client and transaction information from approximately 650 Jenny Craig Centres around the world. Specifically, we're solving three business problems with this system. First, we didn't know as much as we could about our customers. Secondly, we were spending too much money on outsourcing our marketing campaigns; now, we do them in house. We've taken charge of our customer data and shed the vendor we were paying more than $750K per month along with its redundant data and multiple disparate databases. Third, we lacked real-time access to our own marketing campaign results, which prevented us from doing the kinds of analytics, segmentation, etc., that we needed for effective campaigns. The new warehouse has all employees communicating with customers and our Centres with consistent information.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite is the only integrated solution to span the full data life cycle. Jenny Craig uses Ascential DataStage on a nightly basis to receive new transactional data from its Centres and load it into the new data warehouse. Ascential QualityStage identifies, corrects and reconciles inaccurate or redundant data. Ascential's ProfileStage automatically profiles the structure of source data residing in Jenny Craig's Microsoft SQL Server database. By installing the Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite, Jenny Craig was able to lay the foundation needed to extract data from multiple data sources, clean the data and upload the cleansed, non-duplicated data into a central location. The project cost $500,000, which means it will take only six months to pay for itself. We will also save by creating our own marketing campaigns, conducting our own analysis and maintaining our own database further contributing to the $1 million in savings. Because of the suite's efficiency, we've also reassigned one-third of our IS staff. We've also flattened our hierarchy, giving everyone in the department a chance to spread their wings, to take some responsibility for important projects, and improve their day-to-day work experiences.
STRENGTHS: Ascential was the only enterprise data integration vendor that approached data profiling, quality and transformation as closely connected, interdependent operations.
WEAKNESSES: There have been times when we have noticed that features such as cut and paste would be tremendous time savers, or the ability to do a look-up or a search would help. A new release from Ascential Software has added the cut-and-paste feature along with a couple of other relatively minor functions that were extremely beneficial to us.
SELECTION CRITERIA: During our evaluation, we viewed several online demos and brought in several vendors. All of the other vendors either specialized in the ETL portion of the process or the data cleansing. No one other than Ascential offered the complete ETL/data cleansing package plus the ProfileStage product. We wanted the ease of working with one vendor.
DELIVERABLES: We're using Ascential Software solutions on a nightly basis to receive, cleanse and load new transactional data from our retail stores into the new data warehouse.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We've taken pains to make our relationship with Ascential a true partnership. Although everybody talks about treating vendor relationships as partnerships, actually following through on that philosophy makes a huge difference in the outcome of a strategically critical project. Selecting Ascential Software was less a matter of getting the best price than of evaluating the chemistry and then building on it from negotiation through deployment.
DOCUMENTATION: The excellent documentation for the products requires that you are familiar with the Ascential Software terminology.
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