Mining enterprise systems for customer information; implementing solutions for better connectivity, new services for customers
Westboro, MA October 21, 2003 Allied Office Products, the largest independent dealer of office goods and services in the United States, said it has increased sales and improved customer service after implementing solutions from Ascential Software, an enterprise data integration provider.
Allied Office Products said it has used the solutions to mine its enterprise systems for customer information and implement solutions that offer better connectivity and new services for its customer base.
Underlying these new capabilities is the Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite and Ascential Real-Time Integration Services (RTI Services), which are the infrastructure for OneSolution, Allied Office Products' business management system. OneSolution links customer service, supply chain and order processing solutions in real-time, according to the provider.
Ascential said the suite profiles, cleanses and transforms customer data from disparate enterprise systems and consolidates it in a central data warehouse. Allied is using Ascential ProfileStage and QualityStage to identify and eliminate duplicate records, incomplete fields and other anomalies in its OneSolution system. Additionally, they send employees error reports that identify redundant entries and notify sales and service representatives of missing data.
The Real-Time Integration (RTI) Services allow Allied Office Products to offer real-time customer service, order processing and supply chain management, the office products dealer said. For instance, Allied is using RTI Services to let customers process returns online. The Ascential Software solution deploys and manages these services by creating a link back to the company's enterprise systems and integrating the data, according to Ken DesRochers, senior vice president of information technology at Allied Office Products.
"Ascential Software helped us gain the 360-degree view of our customer that many companies strive for but too few achieve," said DesRochers. "This is helping us significantly improve our responsiveness, customer intimacy and product and service offerings. This is how we differentiate and succeed in an aggressive market populated with many competitors ranging from small operations to national office supply superstores."
DesRochers explained that the challenge in achieving one cohesive view of the customer was that customer data was dispersed among three disparate systems, including Oracle 9i, Salesforce.com and, for financials, a custom-built legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
After evaluating various data integration point products, Allied Office Products selected the Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite for its interoperability with the company's heterogeneous existing IT systems and its Web services capabilities. "Having access to a complete, fully integrated solution from one vendor was a major plus in terms of managing our risk," said DesRochers. "I had confidence that the data profiling, quality and transformation solutions were fully integrated and optimized. This reduces the cost and potential pitfalls of assembling point products from multiple vendors, and that's important.
Mark Register, vice president and chief marketing officer at Ascential Software, said, "Ken and his team have fundamentally changed the way their company operates and created measurable business value using innovative data integration solutions from Ascential Software. This linkage between the boardroom and back room objectives and initiatives is critical."