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Building an EDW with a Single Version of Truth

How PODS reinvented their Business Intelligence initiative on budget and ahead of schedule


Background

PODS is one of North America’s premier moving and storage companies and is currently expanding internationally. The company is modernizing all of its systems to meet new business objectives and provide enhanced information to every department and customer worldwide. It wasn’t until PODS was far into this initiative that they realized a new reporting infrastructure would be necessary to replace mission-critical legacy systems. They engaged Convergence Consulting Group (CCG) to design and implement this new reporting infrastructure as well as provide necessary business intelligence functionality for their new systems.

Challenge

PODS was facing significant challenges at the onset:

  • New accounting system had been implemented and was being absorbed into the culture
  • Needed to maintain original legacy system components
  • “Off-system” reporting in spreadsheets & personal databases creating multiple versions of the truth
  • Little-to-no system documentation
  • Incorporating above into a cohesive reporting system
  • Ensuring the new system could grow and evolve with the business, now and in the future
  • Completing the project in a very short time frame
  • Implementing highly complex new ERP system
  • Configuring & implementing a new logistics system incorporating system quoting, order management, pricing, call management, & contact management

Solution

CCG spent the initial part of the engagement identifying important reporting subjects and designing a reporting model to support any future information needs. This approach provides a consistent reporting layer that is robust, flexible, and encourages adoption from employees. Regardless of the data source complexity, the reporting system insulates the users from that complexity. This approach allowed CCG to rapidly absorb all changes introduced from various data sources and absorb changes from new development, retaining a consistent reporting layer and effectively introducing necessary modifications without disruption.

The project also focused on constructing a data loading infrastructure. Like most businesses, the PODS IT staff is occupied with daily job duties that leave little time to add new things for which to monitor and respond. We implemented a modular system with extensive process auditing and reporting capabilities and including error handling and notification so that problems are promptly reported and the root causes are identified. This helped the IT staff to respond quickly and triage problems without necessary system expertise. With best practices and performance tuning, CCG shortened data load times from four hours to less than 15 minutes.

Finally, CCG implemented an easy-to-use reporting interface that supports a variety of user access types and organizational levels required by the business. The project consolidated more than 200 reports into a significantly more manageable number and delivered a documented solution that is maintained by in-house developers.

PODS now has a single version of the truth and business users have the ability to conduct reporting with minimal IT involvement. PODS continues to utilize CCG’s expertise for further development of their BI initiatives.

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