Parragon Books Ltd., an International publishing company had grown rapidly. With a design team in the UK, Print & Production in China and regional sales offices globally, getting an accurate, up to date view of their sales, stock and distribution channels was critical. This combined with point of sale data allowed for a dynamic stock management system. Furthermore, there was a strategic and operational need to access management reporting; this would enable informed decision making regarding the profitability of publications and determining the most effective distribution channels.
The company held rich data in separate and disparate data silos. Specifically, these were:
• Sage contained the company’s financial data. This was complicated further by each global region having its own instance of the software.
• Planning and purchasing data was held in a bespoke in-house system and
• Pre-production project management and bibliographical data was in Censhare. In order to get a holistic view of the company, these data needed to be combined and made available in a ready to analyse form.
After a thorough requirements gathering exercise involving careful planning, research and interactive client workshops, a data warehouse was designed by our data architecture team and ETL feeds built to bring the data into a central Data warehouse. Bulk loads run overnight, with incremental feeds occurring every 30 mins.
The data was cleansed and modelled enabling the client to gain an accurate view of orders, sales and margins by product, region, customer and sales manager. Complex calculations such as allocating individual products sold in bundled orders were created. Royalty payments calculations based on the product category were also created, as well as conversions into common currencies.
Real time reporting from Censhare was generated via Cognos using a metadata layer we created which allowed for simple querying of the various features stored in the application system.
Admin dashboards were created to allow for easy monitoring of ETL status, database resource and report usage.
To enable these solutions Microsoft SQL Server was used as the database, SSIS as the ETL tool and IBM Cognos as the front end Reporting and Analysis tool.
The client now has a single reporting solution enabling data captured via its multiple systems around the globe to be accessed seamlessly.
The system has been specifically engineered with scalability in mind to allow it to grow alongside the company. This has been of significant benefit as the
customer has acquired other companies and integrated their data into its centralised Data Warehouse. The solution also supports advances in technology with
plans at the advanced stage for dynamic cubes, mobile reporting and potentially, the ability to host the solution in the cloud.
We have worked closely as an extension of the inhouse MIS & IT teams, providing training, support and ongoing developments as the company grows.
We’ve been working with SWBI since 2014 and have built a positive and collaborative relationship through the development of several projects across multiple source systems.
They have provided valuable in-house training sessions and project workshops, furthering understanding as well as offering solutions and insight into project development.
They also offer an excellent level of system support and maintenance, always looking for additional ways to enhance the stability of the system.
As our business progresses and expands, our relationship with SWBI continues to evolve and we are confident that we can succeed together.