Cdiscount.com Optimizes its Strategic Reporting with Talend Data Integration

The leading Internet retailer implements Talend Data Integration to streamline feeds to its data warehouse.
Talend's Support is particularly responsive both from the standpoint of business and service. We are glad to have joined its community and some of the special components we developed have been incorporated in the product to benefit other users.
Frédéric Chauvat, IT Director

The best deals on the Internet

Online shopping pioneer, Cdiscount.com, subsidiary of the Casino group, is the leading Internet retailer in France. With the broadest product range on the Web, Cdiscount.com maintains 40 online shops offering books, music, High-Tech, IT, home decor, clothes, health, services, etc. With more than 100 000 SKUs, carefully selected for quality and stocked in a 1 million-square-foot warehouse, Cdiscount.com offers the best products at the best prices. Its competitive strength is based on its unique e-commerce experience, on its ability to find good products, and on the quality of its service. Founded in 1998, today the company has 700 employees and realized revenues of €547 million ($700.7 million) in 2006/2007.

Discount - the corporate philosophy

Cdiscount's rapid success (in less than 10 years, the company has become the leading e-commerce retailer in France) is the result of an economic model based on an efficient triptych-price/supply/reputation. Cdiscount offers huge discounts on popular products; the supply strategy equates the purchase of large quantities with securing the lowest prices; and their web site has quickly become a must-visit for surfers looking for good deals and the best service. The strategy works, resulting in a position of leadership on the e-commerce market and an excellent market share. Within the past six months, 40% of Internet users have bought something on Cdiscount.

Cdiscount applies these same principles to its management. For example, in the IT field, the company was looking for solutions that offered the best ROI and the best value for the money. For 5 years Cdiscount used a proprietary data integration solution and the license didn't scale to the growth of the company. "€œIn time, we were faced with a large increase in licensing costs which didn't match our discount policy; the technical evolution of this tool required us to update our servers regularly. Because the pricing was linked to the numbers of servers used, the costs kept rising even though our needs stayed the same,"€ said Frédéric Chauvat, IT Director. "When we started doing business, there were no open source data integration solutions, so we had to go with a proprietary solution to feed a data warehouse handling operational and financial reporting. At that time, the data volumes were lower, but they simply exploded over time. We needed a more cost-effective solution that could also handle large volumes of data and quickly opted for open source because proprietary tools were too expensive."€

Talend Data Integration for current and future needs

After downloading Talend Open Studio for Data Integration for testing, Cdiscount subscribed to Talend's solution - Talend Data Integration - because of its teamwork features and a support level that met the needs of the company. Cdscount operates three databases, each containing 2 TB of data: the data warehouse, the front-office (web site), and the back office (inventory and management). The IT department implemented Talend Data Integration to organize data movement and data mining among these three databases and roughly ten other data sources. "€œWith Talend Data Integration, we decided to start from scratch by creating new interfaces and, overall, a new way of operating. The solution let us easily deploy applications on any machine (UNIX or Windows), which is an advantage because the installation of new solutions usually involves upgrading the servers and that raises costs,"€ explained Frédéric Chauvat. "€œIn addition, Talend charges by the number of developers and not by CPU. Charging by CPU dramatically raises costs when deploying dual or quad core servers. The per-developer license protects our budget even as our business grows. Moreover, there was no question of sacrificing performances for cost reasons. Given the strategic nature of our reporting, it is critical that reports for upper management arrive in a timely fashion if we are to keep our competitive advantage."

Cost savings, performance and responsive support

According to Frédéric Chauvat, Talend Data Integration has three major advantages. "€œFirst, the economic aspect of the solution is in line with our strategy as a discounter. We optimized our budget compared to the previous solution and, more importantly, we're now in control of spending."

"Second, performance is comparable, or even better today,"€ said Frédéric Chauvat. "€œFinally, Talend's Support is particularly responsive both from the standpoint of business and service. We are glad to have joined its community and some of the special components we developed have been incorporated in the product to benefit other users. As early adopters we know that Talend is listening to us, particularly in terms of development, which is totally different from what we've experienced in the past. The tool was fairly new when we chose it and so we frequently had questions for Talend Support who always responded quickly."€

Cdiscount appreciates Talend Data Integration's flexibility and openness as well as its ease of customization. The ability to add code avoids any technical blocking, which would add to the cost. Cdiscount also stressed the power of the solution which can manage large volumes of data coming from multiple sources - operational as well as web logs for example - to perform analysis.

The company is thinking about implementing the tool's Grid Computing option to optimize its IT resources. "€œThis option would not only let us improve our processing performance without investing in machines and operating systems, but it could also help us to guarantee the availability of the data via a fail-over system that would allow us to redirect processing to an operational server,"€ concluded Frédéric Chauvat. "We have other projects under consideration which are more complex than simple data warehouse administration. Even if they roll out over a two-year period, they will help us be more efficient and win more market share."