For JP Group, TimeXtender Improves Efficiency and Data Quality
”Previously, extracting and converting data for our Targit BI system was a major and complicated task. But now, when we use TimeXtender for this task, it only takes me a few minutes each time. And this is true of all the other tasks, where we have to extract and transfer data between different IT applications.” says Flemming Andersen, who is the IT Manager for the JP Group industrial group in Viborg that manufactures, imports, and sells spare parts for a number of the best known makes of car as well as for trains, busses and industrial plant equipment.
It’s an international group, with more than 99% of their revenue coming from export. Since the beginning in 1962 the group has expanded with even more business areas, so that today it consists of no less than seven financially and legally independent companies. They all share their headquarters at the same location in Viborg and they have a joint IT Department, where IT Manager Flemming Andersen has the day-to-day responsibility for ensuring that the entire group’s many IT applications operate as they should. The most important applications are the two ERP systems: the Windows based MS Dynamics XAL from Microsoft and the IBM i-Series based system Futura with a common Business Intelligence solution based on TimeXtender and the frontend tool Targit.
No More Coding By Hand
Targit BI is used for both the daily management reporting and to prepare statistics and analyses for areas such as sales, purchasing, orders, production, and finance, both for the group as a whole and on a product, departmental and country level. However, until the company began using TimeXtender in 2006, Flemming Andersen was heavily burdened by having to manually provide the updated basic data which Targit must use as input. ”Twice a day we had to both fetch and convert data in Targit, not just from the two ERP applications, but also from a large number of Excel tables, Access databases and text files. This was done purely by ’coding by hand’ in a very technical and time-consuming manner, and in an IT set-up where we were forced to shut down our users for 60 minutes every time there were data transfers.”
Quick Microsoft SQL Server Migration
The cumbersome ’coding by hand’ continued until the beginning of 2006 where the company had to migrate from Microsoft SQL Server 2000 to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and all data packages had to be converted from DTS format to SSIS format. Fortunately, it was here that TimeXtender appeared with their data warehousing and ETL tool. And this was a convincing experience, remembers Flemming Andersen: ”We are among the first to have the new tool presented. So I was probably a little skeptical. But not many minutes went by before it was clear that this was just what we needed. Namely a general, user-friendly tool, which could both solve the current task of converting from Microsoft SQL Server 2000 to Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and which could also fetch data from all the other platforms where we have data stored, including IBM’s DB2 database.”
The SQL conversion, which Flemming Andersen had feared would be extremely onerous, was done without problems. ”We were only down for a few hours and at a time of day where the users did not notice anything. It just went so fast that I never seen anything like it in my 20 years of working with IT. If I had had to do it in the ”normal” way, I would think it would have taken 1-2 weeks.”
With TimeXtender it now takes 30 seconds to carry out a price analysis – instead of 5-6 hours. – Flemming Andersen, IT Manager, JP Group
An Easy Decision
Flemming Andersen was therefore not in doubt and quickly convinced the company management that they should purchase TimeXtender. And this also marked the end of cumbersome daily data transfers to Targit. ”It only took TimeXtender two days to put the solution into operation and I spent two days on a training course with them so I could become a certified TimeXtender user. And the whole thing just ran as they had claimed it would, as it has ever since. So it only takes around 25 minutes each day to move the data required from the many different data sources we have over to Targit. Previously it could easily come to take an hour each time.”
Previously: 6 Hours – Now: 30 Seconds
There also many other ways in which TimeXtender has provided important benefits and saved very large amounts of time. Andersen says: ”We bought TimeXtender primarily to be able to support Targit. But in truth also because it is a very versatile tool, which we could use in all the other tasks where we had to extract and transfer data between different IT applications in a secure and fast manner. For example, I use it to place data from our basic systems in our web shop and to make electronic and tailor-made product catalogues for the individual salesmen and countries, so that the catalogues, which are saved on their laptops, only contain precisely the products that are relevant for them. And we use it to conduct price analyses where we fetch data from both Excel, i-Series and text files, so that an analysis only takes 30 seconds now for 15,000 product codes, as against 5-6 hours previously.” ”So TimeXtender has led to many improvements in our company, both as far as efficiency, quality of data and not least time consumption are concerned,” concludes IT Manager Flemming Andersen.