With Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, Agnès b. Consolidates its Global Sales for Analysis and Forecasting Purposes

With the development of a data warehouse and domain-specific data marts, agnès b. has a consolidated view of its global operations, enabling it to improve its inventory management and financial BI.
With our data warehouse and data marts, we have a consolidated view of the company's operations and can more precisely forecast their development. In addition, we are able to quickly modify any job to respond quickly to the new demands of our management. Talend gave us the agility we were seeking.
Emmanuel Gallois, BI Manager

Overview

Agnès b. is an international fashion company with approximately 1,000 employees in 10 subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and the United States. The company's has a total revenue of 200 million euro. Since its creation in 1973, the company has opened more than one hundred stores worldwide.

The designer offers a style that lives and adapts to trends, a wardrobe that fits every personality and, above all, is timeless. Agnès b. designs all of the lines herself, not to mention the watch, jewelry, accessory and sunglasses collections. A family company and corporate citizen, agnès b. strives to maintain manufacturing in France as much as possible. Meanwhile, the company is well-established in Asia (Hong Kong, Japan), where it realizes a significant portion of its revenue.

Consolidate sales figures to analyze and manage operations

Because of the internationally-oriented nature of its business, agnès b. has implemented a centralized information system, primarily based on integrated management software that is deployed (or in the process of being deployed) in all its locations. In 2008, the group started the first business intelligence project, the main purpose of which was to test tools offered on the market to assess the advantages of sales data consolidation.

“We initially chose to implement the Pentaho Kettle suite to expand our data warehouse. The results did not meet our expectations, particularly in terms of performance, due to the multiple sources to take into account,” said Emmanuel Gallois, BI Manager at agnès b. “We decided to test Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, whose performance was much closer to what we were seeking. We developed a prototype with PostgreSQL, JPivot and Mondrian, and Talend to load the data warehouse. The Talend solution is a truly versatile tool that meets numerous integration and automation needs. From now on, it is at the core of all of our data integration projects.”

A consolidated view of the group's operations

After extensive testing, this prototype was integrated to an open source J2EE portal solution (Liferay) and SpagoBI for data retrieval. Talend Open Studio for Data Integration allows the aggregation of sales numbers for all of the subsidiaries in the same data warehouse table. The data is extracted from the agnès b. management system (AS/400) and consolidated in the central system at company headquarters. Due to geographic differences, some data is processed and standardized before being integrated.

“Aside from loading the BI warehouse, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration allows us to calculate our website inventory daily thanks to a bridge created between real and virtual inventory. Meanwhile, we can recover information from direct mailing responses and integrate them into our database for marketing analysis purposes,” explains Emmanuel Gallois. “Our data warehouse provides management with a more consolidated view of the group's operations. We developed several data marts to analyze operations from different angles: the financial aspect, the accounting/management aspect, the business aspect (sales analysis and inventory) and a data mart entirely dedicated to our operations in Asia and divided according to country. All of the data recovery and integration jobs are automated using Talend Open Studio for Data Integration.”

Meanwhile, agnès b. uses the Talend open source integration solution to integrate accounting data hosted on a SaaS platform (OracleJDE) in an accounting data mart. This allows the distribution of numerous reports to management promoting a multidimensional analysis of operations via cubes.

Speed, ease of use and reliability

One of the main benefits highlighted by agnès b. is the ease and speed of use of Talend Open Studio for Data Integration. “We need to integrate heterogeneous data and then automate some of our processing. Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, which offers more than 400 standard connectors, allowed us to create our jobs very quickly. With this user-friendly graphical tool, we can conceive an integration task in under fifteen minutes,” continues Emmanuel Gallois. “Job modification is also very fast and easy. Even if we have Java skills internally, the environment is very intuitive and easy to learn. Java was used primarily to develop a component that was missing from the Talend catalog at the start of our project. Today, this has become pointless since the product evolves and is enhanced very quickly.”

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Gallois highlights the performance and reliability of the tool. “Our jobs run every day and, as of today, we haven't encountered any problems in terms of performance or reliability. Since the creation of our data warehouse, users regularly express their appreciation. They no longer need to manually consolidate data in Excel files, which saves them a lot of time.”

Finally, agnès b. values the relationship that has been established over time with the Talend teams. “In just two years, we have been able to appreciate the development of Talend Open Studio for Data Integration, which has increased substantially, not only in terms of connectors, but also in the overall functionality of the tool,” concludes Emmanuel Gallois. “With our data warehouse and data marts, we have a consolidated view of the company's operations and can more precisely forecast their development. In addition, we are able to quickly modify any job to respond quickly to the new demands of our management. Talend gave us the agility we were seeking.”