Standardizing 42 Disparate ERP Instances and Establishing an Enterprise Data Warehouse
“Comments have been made about how we haven’t uncovered any issues in the project thus far. That’s unusual for large software related initiatives. That speaks to the upfront architecture and planning and the subsequent execution and partnership from WCI.” – VP of IT, Fluid Motions Company
The company (a world leader in manufacturing industrial pumps, valves, actuators, controls, seals and managed services in industries such as power, gas, chemical, water and others) needed help extracting data from several disparate ERP systems. They wanted to extract data from 42 ERP instances, standardize flat files, and get all of the information into one data warehouse. What complicated the situation even more is that the ERP systems were from all sorts of different vendors (Oracle, SAP, BAAN, Microsoft, PRMS). Another thing that was very important was to have a core set of metrics and a central dashboard that combined all of the information from the various locations around the world.
The project was a result of a surge in demand for enterprise data from the executive level. The company knew that it needed a central repository for information that encompassed all the data from its locations around the world. The requests often came from the top down and when data administrators needed to find the pertinent information, the logistical implications of coordinating the data extraction efforts resulted in a very time intensive effort. The company knew it needed to standardize data accessibility.
With this increase in demand, along with a desire for consistent analytics, the company decided to search out a partner that could advise and guide their internal team. They also wanted to invest in an Enterprise Data Warehouse with someone who had knowledge of how to consolidate disparate ERP systems. Due to WCI’s experience with large scale projects of this nature as well as their delivery and strategy expertise within data warehousing, WCI was chosen for this project.
“We chose WCI to extract and map data for our company because they’ve been around for a while and have a good reputation. They know technology and the business. They speak our language and engage well with ERP system owners.” – VP of IT, Fluid Motions Company
Planning & Strategy
WCI Consulting knew that there was a big project ahead to achieve all of the goals the company had in mind so several phases were planned out over the course of 2 years. WCI architected a roadmap that would take ERP data from 8 main databases and put it into the Enterprise Data Warehouse. This entailed integrating the 5 Oracle ERP instances with the 3 SAP ERPs. Rapid Marts were also implemented in the Oracle ERP systems to improve the flow of the project.
Creating a Team
This was a large undertaking so, along with WCI’s resources, WCI helped the client add their own capable resources to this project. This was done in order to build firsthand knowledge within the company and ensure long term success.
“In the last year, we’ve settled down and established a good team with the help of WCI. 3 years ago, we did not even have a BI team in the company.”
Standard Data Definition Templates
One of the main hurdles was that there was no standardization of fields or data definitions across the ERP systems. To fix this issue WCI developed a data services tool to reach into the backend of the database and bring the data forth in a way that could be used. The company now knows what fields to go after and how to establish them each time a new ERP instance is encountered. These data definition templates have been the cornerstone of this project and have completely re-hauled the way the client’s data is treated.
“Now my team completely understands how to pull a new ERP instance with the help of these templates.”
By early 2015 the data from the Tier 1 ERP systems will be ready to be consumed by the business. The company will have 1 common and consistent way to obtain key metrics.
The long term effect of the project, once completed, will be the ease of flow when it comes to obtaining information. What once was a long and incongruent process to get relevant information at an aggregated level will now be streamlined as all of the pertinent data will be stored in one central data warehouse with one team that controls it.
“WCI has done such good work for us. Their data and business intelligence knowledge is extensive and their integrity and ethics just speak volumes. They’re just very easy and excellent to work with.”
“All data demands will go through one common process and team. It will be a streamlined process versus a fire drill that involves multiple teams. With a quick turnaround, executives can get a thorough level of data from the entire enterprise. Access to key metrics will be as easy as a few clicks.” – VP of IT, Fluid Motions Company