KODAK Gallery, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eastman KODAK Company, is the leading online destination for storing and transforming photo memories—at their most life-like best—into a more high-profile part of people’s everyday lives and environments. The company was launched in 2001 when KODAK purchased the groundbreaking Berkeley-based company, Ofoto. Today, KODAK’s legacy of quality goes into every item that KODAK Gallery produces.
More Efficient Reporting Required to Analyze Marketing Programs
As the KODAK Imaging Network (KODAK Gallery) began to integrate its legacy website with a recently-launched website, the company decided to address the labor-intensive data collection and dissemination processes that were necessary to support operations in North America and Europe. The challenge was made more complex given that a multiplicity of languages and currencies exist within the various geographies.
With the previous data warehouse from which reports were generated, serving all the different needs to make information available in the appropriate currency and appropriate language meant that the enterprise reporting team had to perform manual work to deliver reports to various business groups. In addition to this challenge, the company also had to account for eight years of stored data-history while accommodating new data generated by the updated website.
“We knew the best solution was to store all the data in one place from which we could generate reports,” says KODAK Gallery’s senior manager of enterprise reporting Eric Lagace. “To respond to this need, we decided to streamline our disparate data systems as well as simplify the currency and language issues so that we could deliver information faster and more accurately. Ultimately, we wanted to provide better visibility into the operations of the entire organization.”
KODAK Gallery also realized the new data warehouse and reporting system would need to maintain required performance levels. Called Project Pulse, the endeavor had started in response to business users needing to easily view results of how customers were responding to marketing campaigns on both the legacy website and the new website.
Sybase IQ Provides Engine to Generate Required Information in Real-Time
For the new data warehouse, KODAK Gallery turned to Sybase, which demonstrated how the Sybase IQ data warehouse platform could provide performance and reliability at a low cost. KODAK Gallery first had great success with the deployment of Sybase IQ on Widows servers, and when the company eventually upgraded its server hardware and OS to Solaris, IT migrated to the Sybase IQ version that works with Solaris. The migration was simple thanks to the built-in tools that Sybase IQ offers that make it easy to extract data from one platform and then load the data back into a new platform.
Prior to the migration from Windows to Solaris, KODAK Gallery considered other data warehouse technologies but stayed with IQ to reduce deployment time and because IQ requires fewer computing resources compared to other data warehouse platforms. “Other platforms require greater CPU power, more memory and more storage while IQ provides a higher level of performance with less computing power,” Lagace says. “When you also consider that IQ costs less, the overall TCO is much lower.”
The Pulse platform now allows business users to see customer activity on both the legacy and new websites across all geographies including the U.S., Canada and Europe. With the different languages and currencies, it was challenging to integrate all the data into the Pulse platform so that business users could easily see what occurs, but with Sybase IQ, the translation process happens seamlessly. “Users don’t see anything happening since IQ collects and processes reports in the background each night so users can see what happened in the appropriate language and currency,” Lagace says. “We also found that the way Sybase IQ stores data in columns speeds up data queries considerably.”
Partnering with Sybase was an important factor in the success of the project. KODAK Gallery worked with the Professional Services team directly on technical challenges. Sybase also demonstrated how KODAK Gallery could use IQ effectively and take full advantage of its capabilities.
SAP Business Objects Allows End-Users to Easily Generate Reports
In addition to using Sybase IQ as the database engine where all the data aggregation takes place, KODAK Gallery also deployed SAP Business Objects to generate the front-end, business-user reports. “Users interact with Sybase IQ via Business Objects to query data and look at business activities,” Lagace says. “They can easily retrieve information daily to analyze trends, and they can do so on their own—without any help from IT. The Business Objects graphical interface makes it that easy.”
This capability is a big benefit for IT since it means KODAK Gallery does not have to hire and train staff to generate and maintain reports. Business users can use the functionality on their own. IT simply created functionality up-front so that the combination of Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects provides users with information they otherwise would not have access to. This includes the results of product launches, marketing activities, fulfillment programs, and feedback on product quality.
“The streamlined way in which IQ and Business Objects delivers information allows us to accurately track product and marketing results effectively,” Lagace says.
New Data Warehouse Creates Centralized View of All Product Activity
Since the deployment, the Sybase IQ platform has performed reliably and has remained consistently stable. “Most enterprise systems fail every now and then, but Sybase IQ always runs smoothly,” Lagace says. “If we have a problem, Sybase tech support responds quickly with the right solution—the experience of partnering with Sybase has been very good compared to other technology providers.”
Before deploying the IQ-Business Objects combination, KODAK Gallery had islands of information, which is common in enterprises without a centralized data warehouse repository and leads to individuals performing their own analysis in a vacuum and often on spreadsheets. “Previously, it was very difficult to create a common, centralized view that allows management to make informed decisions,” Lagace says. “Our marketing department has many sub-departments that were facing this challenge. But once we integrated all the data into Sybase IQ, we no longer had to worry about these islands of information.”
KODAK Gallery thus now has a single view that presents accurate information of all key marketing activities:
- Sales of products and trends over time
- The effectiveness of marketing campaigns
- Fulfillment program results
- Product launch results
“Looking at this information across isolated islands is not effective, but with Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects, we now we have a common view with all the data stored in one place,” Lagace says.
Worldwide Marketing Groups Gain Better Understanding of Customer Behavior
KODAK Gallery now has an entirely new data warehouse that not only improves accessibility to information but also delivers reporting to business and marketing groups throughout the U.S., Europe and Canada. Each group can track the effectiveness of marketing initiatives in real time, which enables better and faster business decisions on whether or not to make changes to marketing programs.
“In an era where knowing your customer needs is the key to success, Sybase and SAP technologies have enabled us to better align our products and our messaging with our customers,” Lagace says. “We can also respond more quickly within our competitive market, which helps us further develop satisfaction and loyalty among our customer base.”
Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects technologies also deliver significant savings to KODAK Gallery. “We process a large amount of text every day (10 to 15 gigabytes) that continues to grow,” Lagace says. “One of the key business benefits we realized with the new data warehouse is its ability to compress data. We have experienced compression rates 10:1, which saves us significantly on data storage resources.”
Information Generated by New Data Warehouse Also Benefits CRM System
After deploying the new data warehouse, the enterprise reporting team also noticed an increase in the efficiency of the company’s Epiphany CRM system. This was directly due to the pre-processing of data performed prior to sending the data to the Epiphany system. “Generating improved data quality to upload into Epiphany is leading to better reporting out of Epiphany,” Lagace says. “We were also able to consolidate the CRM system and the analytics to provide the data feeds from a single data warehouse source.”
“It makes sense for us to have a single, consolidated data source driven by the Sybase IQ data warehouse engine,” Lagace adds. “We are now more efficient, and we reduce costs by eliminating a lot of the work previously needed to maintain separate systems. The end result is a more user-friendly, less-expensive system.”
KODAK Gallery also appreciates the benefit of having immediate access to the metrics that Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects provides access to. “We are amazed at the types of reports we can generate,” says Lagace. “Our system now contains much more information than the previous reporting system and is very helpful. We can easily track day-to-day business results by geography and by product.”
Project Pulse has proven to be a notable advancement for KODAK Gallery. The company now relies on data warehouse technology to centralize and consolidate enterprise data to deliver better visibility to the entire organization. In addition, while KODAK Gallery overall has grown in size, the Pulse enterprise reporting team has not had to increase its numbers but is still providing the information the company requires. Looking ahead, KODAK Gallery plans to extend the integration between Sybase IQ and SAP Business Objects even further to take greater advantage of additional features, such as text processing.