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Faced with challenges from aging ERP, BI and supply chain applications, Sony partnered with TEKsystems® to implement OBIEE with mobile capabilities, install a retail signal network and provide administration support for its Oracle R12 database needs.

Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA), a division of Sony, Inc., distributes and markets the PlayStation® game console in North America; develops and publishes PlayStation software; and manages the U.S. third-party licensing program. Sony has partnered with TEKsystems since 2012.

With constantly changing markets, globalization and growing data volumes, a means to quickly analyze data at an enterprise level is becoming an increasing need at consumer goods companies that are dealing with multiple, complex supply chain channels. However, when operations areas are working in silos, companies may be only seeing parts of the picture, rather than a panorama-sized view into their business. 

That’s why organizations are turning to enterprise-wide solutions for business intelligence (BI). These platforms utilize a central portal or data warehouse that allows users to “slice and dice” across data channels to deeply understand their many different product lines. Business users can analyze data from, for example, financials and the supply chain, and make connections between production and revenue that could enhance operations in both areas. In addition to analyzing across data channels from within the organization, companies should also integrate point-of-sale (POS) data from retailers to get a complete 360-degree look at their product lines from assembly to purchase.

The benefits of BI for business users are numerous, but so are the challenges of first implementing these enterprise-wide solutions. Companies should look for an implementation partner with depth and breadth of expertise and experience in BI applications and associated technologies; the ideal partner should also have the velocity to ramp up resources and implement solutions at a pace that keeps up with fast-moving business.

Demantra, Informatica ETL, various Oracle BI Applications, Oracle BI Publisher, Oracle BI Enterprise Edition 11g, Oracle Database, Oracle Demand Signal Repository, Oracle ERP (R11 and R12), SurfBI Mobile

Sony was facing challenges with its aging ERP, BI and supply chain applications. The applications were being phased out of product support and were not aligned with the client’s changing business strategy. It was a time-consuming and cumbersome process for Sony to compile critical data and analyze trends for the company’s various product lines; and as a result, Sony was unable to quickly react to changing market realities.

Sony’s legacy supply chain system, Shiloh, required manual manipulation of data in Excel and would not allow the client to scale in alignment with the business, causing delays in responding to retail or consumer demand and poor planning. In response to this, Sony wanted to automate the process of obtaining supply chain data to formulate reports on the prior week’s activity every Monday morning. In addition, Sony wanted to increase POS data collection and streamline this information from retailers through a cloud-based data channel to gain an understanding of what products were selling where. This information would enable them to do more cross-selling in specific markets and—leveraging cloud-based services—reduce long-term maintenance costs.

Sony also wanted to be able to use a single platform for viewing all of its financials, supply chain and planning analytic reports. This would require having a single enterprise data warehouse (EDW) platform. Further, Sony sought to improve quality and reduce costs by outsourcing database support.

To keep up with business demands, minimize costs and ensure that strategic business decisions were being made based on quality, real-time data, Sony decided to implement a BI solution with mobile analytic capabilities, automate integration with POS data and outsource database support. Given Sony was upgrading its ERP system at the same time, major changes in the ERP project would affect the BI implementation. As such, the client required a flexible partner that could adjust to project shifts and accelerate to meet aggressive deadlines set for the ERP project so both systems could launch concurrently.

As an Oracle Platinum Partner, we have the skills and experience to assess, implement and manage a client’s complex BI needs. Sony was confident in our ability to quickly assemble a team and in our flexibility in adjusting to changing project demands. Additionally, one of the client’s key directors had worked with us at another company, further validating our expertise and insight as an Oracle BI co-development partner. Based on these factors, Sony selected TEKsystems to support this initiative. We would implement three OBIEE applications: Financials, Supply Chain Management and Product Information Management (PIM); and a retail signal network using Demand Signal Repository (DSR) in a cloud-based SaaS model. We would also provide infrastructure support for the client’s Oracle R12 database needs. Owning these projects from end to end, we would provide a mixed on-site/off-shore global delivery model to maximize efficiency and delivery while minimizing costs.

To accelerate the BI set-up, we would use our proprietary Business Requirements Generator accelerator. This would allow us to quickly create mock-up reports with real-time data at the onset of the project. We would install the BI applications using Oracle BI Publisher, which would allow Sony to use real-time data to author, manage and deliver reports easier and faster. Along with this, we would implement a mobile solution that would deliver key BI analytics to executive leadership on iOS and Android mobile devices. The team working on this portion would include four on-site resources, including a program manager, a technical architect, a BI publisher and a developer; and five off-shore resources skilled in OBIEE and Informatica.

For the retail signal solution, we would implement the cloud-based Oracle DSR for POS data integration and analytics. DSR would replace Sony’s legacy system, which required manual manipulation. We would provide one on-site functional resource and two off-shore DSR specialists.

Finally, the infrastructure support would be provided by a team of DB developers, with two people located on site and two people off shore. An on-site program manager skilled in both ERP and BI would coordinate and collaborate across the different project streams and ensure we stay in line with the ERP project timelines. The manager would be responsible for keeping the entire project team and the client informed through weekly cadence meetings, weekly customer project reviews and regular steering committee meetings.

Our timeline would be tied closely with the ERP timeline, as any changes to the ERP system or schedule would have an impact on the BI implementation. We would work closely with the client and its ERP vendor to support the installation and implementation of the ERP system, while ensuring that the projects’ timelines matched closely for a synchronized deployment.

We successfully completed all of the projects in line with the ERP timeline and launched both systems concurrently. All reports passed user acceptance testing (UAT) with zero Priority One or Priority Two-level issues, meaning no reports were late or incomplete. Since implementation, Sony has experienced real-time access to information across different data functions. Sony’s new reporting capabilities are helping the organization move away from business object reporting and toward more analytical reporting. The mobile capabilities allow executive leadership to make informed, data-driven decisions from anywhere and at any time.

By replacing its legacy system, Sony has reduced the time to receive sell-through data from four days to one. Its sales and marketing team is now able to better analyze product trends, assess retail inventory and meet market demands. In addition to the original statement of work, we also implemented Demantra—a demand management, sales and operations planning, and trade promotions management solution—as a proof of concept to further enhance the client’s marketing and sales insight and processes.

Also, by utilizing a cloud-based solution hosted by TEKsystems, we were able to cut down on high IT maintenance costs. On the database side, we have helped Sony cut costs incurred with the previous vendor and bring services in-house earlier than anticipated.

We also increased accessibility and user-friendliness of the applications by integrating with other Sony applications. We installed and configured Oracle Identity Manager with third-party applications such as Concur® and Workday® to create a single sign-on process.

Following implementation, our two off-shore resources have stayed on to provide continual infrastructure support for Sony. Impressed by our performance and TEKsystems Global Services’ capabilities, Sony has also engaged TEKsystems to provide support services for its help desk.

COMMUNICATION

TEKsystems engaged with the client’s point of contact on a daily basis to supply him with information to keep Sony’s internal stakeholders updated on key developments. We took the time to understand the client’s business and maintained transparency throughout the process, communicating problems openly and honestly to ensure Sony’s expectations were met. We delivered smaller chunks of the project at a time to ensure quick turnaround and allow for timely client feedback.

EXPERIENCE

Since TEKsystems was able to provide services in the three needed areas—BI, retail signal and infrastructure—we were able to collaborate more across all three projects, therefore making integration of the systems seamless. Whereas previous vendors had worked in silos, which made getting information difficult and time-consuming, we were able to eliminate any administrative burden by allowing Sony to work with one vendor that could meet all of its needs.

FLEXIBILITY AND VELOCITY

We partnered with Sony to understand its business goals, and we were able to accomplish everything required by the client. When changes to deliverables or timelines were needed due to the simultaneous ERP implementation, we were able to adapt our deliverables and timelines. Also, by using our Business Requirements Generator accelerator, we were able obtain client buy-in immediately by demonstrating the value of BI to key stakeholders quickly and early on in the project.