STORES Magazine - January 2010 - (Page 51)

NUTS AND BOLTS / DATA MANAGEMENT Busting Bottlenecks Application gives Schnuck Markets faster reporting performance BY DEENA M. AMATO-McCOY etailers improve customer relationships based on the nuggets of information found in each transaction. This data often traverses multiple divisions of the organization – many of which are supported by disparate databases. For Schnuck Markets, a database management system that monitors transactions also supports business analysis and ensures optimal applications performance. R Database applications have steadily expanded and improved as computing systems have evolved, helping keep retailers abreast of the relationship between consumer data and applications’ end-user performance. Due to this expansion of database applications and retailers’ multi-channel operations, corporate databases have evolved into treasure chests of transaction and customer information pertaining to staying on top of daily consumer trends and seasonal business cycles. due to performance issues,” says Lisa Hu, the retailer’s database administrator leader. Rather than reconfigure operations to consolidate data and streamline data flow, it had added solutions that merely improved visibility into siloed data. This caused two issues for Schnucks. First, it could take as long as four hours to create reports. “We needed a way to identify performance or pinpoint when a bottleneck is occurring,” Hu says. “We had no baseline for applica- tions, middleware and databases. While the solution provides insight into how the company’s systems are operating, a lack of historical data made it difficult to determine the source of performance-related issues. “It became apparent we needed to find a way to pinpoint problems and pro-actively find resolutions and fix problems,” Hu says. Overall, what the chain needed was a database and application management solution that could improve the applica- TPM has allowed Schnucks to slash the many hours spent creating reports to a mere 10 minutes, a factor in helping the retailer save on labor costs There is a downside, however: Retail chains continue to struggle with exactly where this data resides and how to access it in an efficient manner. Some organizations operate siloed applications and data storage, a configuration that can be costly to support and from which extracting data can be difficult. St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets relies on its internal data to run regular reports on merchandise forecasts and sales, as well as to analyze results from customer surveys. “These reports could take us hours, even days, to complete, WWW.STORES.ORG tion or database performance. We would know performance was declining, but had nothing to compare it to.” Worse, this caused the chain to be reactionary when addressing performance issues of its computing and storage systems. Schnucks operates a UNIX box that supports multiple databases. It was outfitted with the Oracle Enterprise Manager solution, an application management system that monitors the health and performance of application processes and components, including applica- tion development process – a foundation that would allow Schnucks to support operations, best serve shoppers and build profits. More specifically, the ideal solution had to provide insight into historical data and previous performance activities and issues. “We didn’t want to write a lot of code to remediate solutions,” Hu says. “That would be horrible from a cost and labor standpoint. We wanted an out-of-thebox solution that could easily find indexes for poorly-written SQL (structured query language).” Schnucks chose STORES / JANUARY 2010 51 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - January 2010

STORES Magazine - January 2010
Editor's Page
President’s Page
Retail People
CEO Profile
20 Ideas Worth Stealing
Digital Coupons
Customer Loyalty
Labor Scheduling
Data Management
Human Resources
Retail Fraud
Loeb Retail Letter
ARTS Update
NRF News
Point of View
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap
Global Powers of Retailing

STORES Magazine - January 2010