Optimum Group is an international group of printing companies specialized in printing product labels. When the firm was looking for a party that could help them set up a data warehouse, they turned to Richard Benoit, Data Solution Architect at Rich Solutions, for a survey of the market. After discussions with a number of market parties, E-mergo emerged as the clear favorite. “Getting data consistently into the system and translating it into usable information, that was our biggest challenge. Plus, it had to be easy to connect a new branch,” says Rob Beernink, Group ICT manager at Optimum Group, about the requirements for a solution.
Optimum Group™ is a leader in rotation printing and digital printing. The company is specialized in printing logos, slogans and nutritional information on labels, stickers and flexible packaging. Currently the company has 17 branches, and continues to add new ones. “We were looking for a party who could help us with a solution for a data warehouse, one that could provide both the initial installation and the continuing configuration. “E-mergo was one of the parties that got the invite,” says Rob Beernink. He is responsible for all ICT matters within Optimum Group, and that puts him at the head of the data analytics team.
Adding new branches fast
Optimum Group is not only a fast-growing organization, but also relies on a wide variety of different systems, including different ERP systems used within the group. This makes consistency in the data in the data warehouse a challenge, and that means it’s hard to translate all that data into usable information. That goes in particular for sales-oriented information, operational data and production-related data. In the future, Optimum wants to be able to add financial administration. An additional point of attention is that the group continues to grow fast and add new branches, some in other countries; and each of these saves its information in a different way. “This makes TimeXtender a good solution, because it brings it all together in a coherent way,” says Kaj Overdevest, Business Intelligence Consultant at E-mergo.
Advantages of the Golden Triangle
The company ultimately opted for a combination of Microsoft Azure as cloud solution, TimeXtender for data management and Power BI for data visualization in reporting. This is the combination that E-mergo sometimes refers to as “the Golden Triangle”. Kaj explains the choice: “TimeXtender replaces the existing data warehouse that had been developed on SQL Server. It’s much more intuitive and more visual than the old, manually constructed data warehouse. And it’s worth noting that Optimum Group was already using Power BI. The choice of Azure was only logical, because it’s so scalable. In view of the pace at which Optimum was adding new branches, that was something they needed – that ability to scale up fast.” Richard adds, “Thanks to the standardized way that Optimum Group can now transform, model and consume data with TimeXtender, they’ve made a huge step forward in complex data governance issues that are going to be real concerns in the long term.”
But they’re already seeing the savings in time and money right now. “Employees are already able to develop new reports faster than ever before,” says Kaj. “And Optimum Group is no longer dependent on someone who understands SQL and is familiar with the old, manually built data warehouse. Because Power BI gets all the data directly from TimeXtender, you always see all the current data, and everyone has the same version of the truth. Now you can trust the analytics, and the dashboards no longer have their own logic built into them – all that is now centralized in TimeXtender. And adding new branches is easier than you think.”
Rob also says that in terms of security aspects, TimeXtender is put together right: authorization happens directly in TimeXtender. Another feature he likes is that changes in the source system can be seen in TimeXtender immediately. “That means you don’t have any errors in your report. And, on top of that, users who are working in a Power BI report see only the things they need.”
“Getting data consistently into the system and translating it into usable information was our biggest challenge.”
Rob Beernink - Group ICT manager
The Optimum Group started its migration to the new data warehouse at the end of 2021. First, the company moved existing data over, and then began expanding with new reports. Initially, these were reports on turnover, sales information and things like delivery times. The Power BI reports that were running on the old SQL environment have been taken offline. “We track how many jobs we deliver on time and in full,” says Rob. “And it also supports Optimum Green, our internal project in which we are focusing on using sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable materials. We’re using the Golden Triangle to analyze how much of our turnover or production is green, and so falls under this Optimum Green program.”
Optimum Group chose E-mergo for the installation of TimeXtender in the cloud environment, took a number of training sessions from them and also hired E-mergo consultants to set up the new data warehouse. Today E-mergo is still on the job for Optimum Group, Rob acknowledges. “That’s partly because for a while it was difficult to find data analysts,” he says. “But not anymore. We’re happy with the result. We have reliable reports and a much better grip on our data. It’s a great partnership. E-mergo has experienced experts who know how to work with us. We love their approach.”
Optimum Group intends to continue to use the services of E-mergo for the time being. There is, however, an end goal, and that is a self-sufficient and independent team who can work with TimeXtender and only fall back on the consultants of E-mergo in specific instances.
“We’re happy with the result. We have reliable reports and a much better grip on our data. It’s a great partnership. E-mergo has experienced experts who know how to work with us. We love their approach.”
Rob Beernink - Group ICT manager
Company name: Optimum Group
Diversity of ERP and other systems
Fast-growing organization, adding new branches all the time
TimeXtender data warehouse solution
Azure cloud environment
Power BI dashboards
Power BI and TimeXtender training
One version of the truth, thanks to TimeXtender
Ability to develop new dashboards faster
New branches are easy to add
The name E-mergo comes from the Latin saying luctor et emergo, “I struggle and I arise.” This motto is used by the Dutch province of Zeeland to represent the victory in the battle against the water. Of course, we are not fighting against the water, but we are making sure that companies can keep their heads above water in the ever-rising flow of data. Our own motto is “Manage your data, innovate your business”: we help you get the most out of your data. And we do it with Qlik, Mendix, Microsoft and TimeXtender, for which we provide software, training, consultancy and management services. Together we give your business the tools to create new earning models and save money.