Project Description

The company is the world’s leading specialty distributor of advanced network technology solutions. Through their business units around the world, they are a significant sales channel for Cisco, Nortel Networks, Avaya and close to 100 other industry-leading manufacturers.

Recently, a global telecommunications distributor sought to improve their e-Commerce solution. They were looking to provide their customers with the tools and information needed to allow them to make quick, informed decisions regarding how they procure their telecom equipment. In an effort to do this, they decided to create a suite of e-Commerce services that would allow preferred customers to query product information and purchase products remotely. Web Service API’s, as well as other data transmission technologies, were leveraged to make this possible.

The primary challenge of this project was that the availability of these customized catalogs, a key component of their vision, was not natively supported by the company’s ERP. For the solution to be successful, their customers must have the ability to download complete pricelists, and obtain single product pricing in real-time via the API. Given the required flexibility of this pricing system, achieving the desired performance proved to be particularly complex.

A significant factor in the process of selecting a telecommunications distributor is how quickly and easily the retailer can conduct business transactions with them. The ability to utilize API’s and integrate purchasing functionality within the customer’s own system would present a level of efficiency that is not typically offered by competing distributors. With such a solution in place, they would display a distinct competitive advantage within their market.

Prior to hiring Chateaux, the company attempted this process several times before, but were not able to achieve the outcome they desired. The problem of generating customer item pricing in such flexible ways was an issue of performance; millions of records in dozens of tables must be processed to generate a single price for any given customer item. As a result, the company turned to Chateaux. Chateaux quickly determined and proposed that data warehousing methodologies and new architecture be employed to form the basis of this pricing engine.

In order to implement this process, Chateaux conducted extensive interviews to aggregate the in-depth rules and regulations that existed for the company’s pricing structure. One of the major obstacles that hindered the execution of this technology in the past was the complexity of the logic for the pricing packages. Several different permutations for product pricing exist based on factors such as volume of the products purchased, and individual customer agreements. Chateaux’s primary focus in this effort was to ensure that the accuracy of the data would save time, money, and resources in the future.

The technological execution of the project required a solid understanding of data warehousing methodology and architecture. Though this was not a true data mart since it was not used for Business Intelligence, the requirements for performance, real time loading, and data quality were the same. SQL Server was employed as the database server. Principles of database security, management and performance were all important aspects of this project.

Chateaux provided the company with an Advanced Customer Pricing Data Mart which addressed all of their requirements, attaining the level of performance that they could not achieve before. Heightened response time in conjunction with increased output performance is the key result which has enabled the company to serve its customers more efficiently.

One of the outstanding features of this solution is enabled through the Web Service API; the company can now provide the ability for select customers to program the purchasing of products through their own inventory systems. This feature eliminates the need for their customers to spend valuable time placing an order on either the company website, or over the phone. The company now has a significant competitive advantage over other distributors in the marketplace.