CATEGORY: BI Tools
REVIEWER: Len Mori, project manager of infrastructure for Trimac Corp.
BACKGROUND: Trimac Corporation, North America's premier bulk transportation company, transports dry, gaseous and liquid bulk commodities to industrial customers across the continent. The company also delivers third-party logistics services through Trimac Logistics Inc. With 5,200 employees and 150 branches across North America, Trimac reported revenues of nearly $700 million in 2000. Internal growth and strategic acquisitions, which have made Trimac one of North America's largest bulk carriers, also spawned several technology challenges. One of these challenges is related to data access and management.
PLATFORMS: Hummingbird's Genio Suite runs on a Solaris platform and a Sun Enterprise 4000 server with six CPUs and 6GB of RAM.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Our technology infrastructure consists of a range of heterogeneous hardware and software solutions. Each day, the high volumes of transactional data generated by these solutions need to be accessed, consolidated and converted into information conducive to end-user queries, analysis and decision making. The first-generation data movement/application development tool we used before buying Genio Suite did not allow us to do this. We needed a data exchange solution that would enable our knowledge-workers to access and analyze critical financial and operational information without having to rely on intervention from the IS department.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Genio Suite is capable of extracting data from many sources including our main operational system (Sybase) and our ERP suite (Oracle). It can also transmit this data to various targets across our spectrum of operational and decision support systems including our data warehouse, OLAP cubes and archival systems. The product, which runs on a Solaris platform, can move code from test to production. It provides an open and accessible meta data repository, strong security features and a user-friendly developer interface.
STRENGTHS: Genio Suite extracts data from different applications and systems (purchased and custom-built), transforms this data, standardizes it, loads it into database tables in desired formats and transports it to where it needs to be. It enables us to carry out vital data exchange operations regardless of data format, syntax, source or target.
WEAKNESSES: Return codes from Genio Suite are currently not flexible enough for the Enterprise Job Scheduler we use to schedule our batch jobs. We had to write a custom utility to ensure proper alerts were in place in the event of job failure.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected Genio Suite because of its advanced data extraction, transformation and delivery capabilities. In addition, we were already using Hummingbird's Exceed product to integrate our computing environments and were impressed with the level of service provided by the company.
DELIVERABLES: Genio Suite allows us to populate our data warehouse with information extracted from various applications. It also enables the creation of data marts that leverage business intelligence capabilities, permitting multidimensional analysis of account information, products, customers, schedules and more. The Genio Suite-populated data warehouse also allows us to identify deviations from predefined trip standards for a haul, such as load time, loaded miles traveled and gross vehicle weight. This enables us to pinpoint where we are losing money on a route and which processes need to be improved. On the financial front, the data warehouse provides accounts receivable analysts with a financial dashboard comprised of approximately 30 metrics. Genio Suite also facilitates our data cleansing, enhancing and transformation processes. Users don't have to learn complex programming or scripting languages in order to define data manipulations.
VENDOR SUPPORT: techolap, a Hummingbird partner, implemented Genio Suite on our Solaris platform along with two developers and an administrator from our IT department. A few months after the initial rollout, Hummingbird consultants conducted a course for our in-house developers. Hummingbird has always been quick to respond to and support our needs.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is adequate for our needs.
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