Elie Tahari Ltd. uses business intelligence to enhance competitiveness and view information on demand

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1 Innovation that matters Elie Tahari Ltd. uses business intelligence to enhance competitiveness and view information on demand Overview Business Challenge To extend its lead in the world of high fashion, Elie Tahari Ltd. needed the ability to quickly react to market changes literally adjusting production in days. Solution An Information on Demand data warehouse based on IBM DB2 software running on an IBM System i 550 server is designed to continuously extract information from business applications to provide employees with the information that matters most. Comprehensive real-time views of all aspects of the business help management respond quickly to changing conditions. Key Benefits Ability to offer quality products and expand business with a competitive delivery schedule Transformed competitiveness through early detection of changes in the market, fast reactions and precise execution Figure 1. The real-time reporting system collects data from six separate systems and presents consolidated scorecards to users for decision making. A leading designer, Elie Tahari Ltd. started in 1974 as a small boutique in New York City. With a keen eye for fashion and an uncanny ability to forecast styles, designer Elie Tahari has grown his namesake business into a US$500 million enterprise with a loyal following of women worldwide. Behind the scenes, IT provides up-to-the-minute information to help managers run the business a capability that has helped the company grow in the last three years. Rapid growth is only possible if Elie Tahari Ltd. manufactures and delivers to stores on time. That not only requires exceptional design skills but also upto-the-minute information about what women are buying and an agile supply chain that can respond to changes in days not weeks. According to Jason Epstein, chief technology officer, The use of technology was the only way we could detect changes in the market and react quickly.

2 Driving innovation through business transformation Business systems present silos of information The company s approach to IT reflects the founder s design philosophy: each of the key systems is the best available, with no compromise in quality or capability. But correlating information across those systems was difficult. Epstein cites just one example of what used to happen when production and merchandizing people met to talk about gross margins. Various systems used different definitions of product cost. So when the production people got a report from their product lifecycle management (PLM) system, they might see current costs whereas the merchandizing people might get standard costs from their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. As a result, says Epstein, They spent more time talking about which cost was correct than focusing on improving gross margins. That s the kind of issue we were facing that led to the realization that we needed a single version of the truth. We needed a common repository of data that could drive consistent reporting. Some employees had created homegrown ways of combining information from several systems using Microsoft Access to generate consolidated reports. This was extremely labor-intensive and took time away from the real job analyzing the information to spot issues that needed attention, says Epstein. We needed a business intelligence system that would pull information from all our systems and maintain a data warehouse that we could use for reporting. First business intelligence system consolidates information In 2002, the IT team built its first business intelligence (BI) system, replacing transactional reports from the individual systems with consolidated reports. Over time, the company discovered it needed a more powerful data warehouse and reporting system that could deliver continuous real-time information from all the systems and present new views of that data quickly. Epstein wanted users to be able to quickly create their own views of information in the data warehouse, which would improve their ability to see the information that really matters to their jobs.

3 New BI system provides the information that matters In 2005, Epstein decided to create scorecards that make it easy to see the issues that need attention. As he describes, A scorecard is a Web-based view of key metrics more than just financial measures. While scorecards are a common tool, we need real-time scorecards that combine information from multiple systems to present a current view of the entire design, production and sales process. By providing a balanced view of all aspects of the business, employees have the information they need to react to changing conditions, even small ones. For example, if sales people have a view into the production processes, they can adjust their orders to maximize their business. The head of production might use a scorecard to see whether all factories are on track to produce goods for the next season. If an issue was indicated, he might drill down to find out more. Key Components Software IBM DB2 IBM i5/os IBM WebSphere DataStage IBM WebSphere MQ Servers IBM System i 550 The objective is to tie many pieces of information together so employees can see opportunities that may otherwise go unnoticed. For example, a marketing person might spot correlations that uncover best practices by looking at sell-through by fabric vendor, by factory vendor and by the time to market for a product. From a desire to use only the best, Tahari relies on IBM System i The Elie Tahari Ltd. business runs primarily on a single IBM System i server with multiple logical partitions (LPARs). The company has always relied on the IBM System i product family for critical business applications. Says Sam Gottlieb, business application manager, We chose the System i server solution over the UNIX operating system solution because of its high availability and over the Microsoft Windows operating system because of its high security. And System i almost runs itself. There have been no issues with the i550 since we installed it. We have a small IT staff, and less time spent maintaining systems means more time to find innovative ways to use IT to help the business. Why it matters Growth in the last three years attests to the value of early detection, fast reactions and precise execution enabled by a business intelligence system based on IBM DB2 software for the IBM i5/os operating system.

4 Benchmarks favor the performance of DB2 for System i To choose the best data warehouse, Gottlieb benchmarked IBM DB2 software for the IBM i5/os operating system on the System i 550 server against Microsoft SQL Server on an HP server. Says Gottlieb, We built identical models over identical sets of data. There was no comparison in performance. In fact, the bigger the tables, the bigger the advantage of DB2 over SQL Server. That proved to us that DB2 for i5/os was the best choice for us. Information on Demand delivers real-time business intelligence Companies like Elie Tahari Ltd. must manage information as a strategic asset in order to cope with intensifying competitive and customer pressures. IBM DB2 software on the i550 system and other comprehensive Information on Demand solutions from IBM help companies unlock the business value of information by freeing it from silos and delivering it in-line and in-context across the enterprise. As shown in Figure 1, six different systems feed real-time data into IBM DB2 on the i550 system. The retail sales and inventory system is outsourced; the product lifecycle management system is based on a Progress database running on Microsoft Windows servers; and the other four systems run in separate logical partitions on the i550 (the enterprise resource planning system for the wholesale business, the company financials, the wholesale order entry system and the warehouse management system). The method of moving data from each of these different systems into the data warehouse depends on the type of system. Says Gottlieb, The extract, transform and load process went surprisingly smoothly, even though we use several methods of connectivity. It is rock solid. This is a testament to the seamless integration of System i facilities. And when we have questions, we are supported by IBM, which certainly saves us a great deal of time and money.

5 In addition, says Gottlieb, DB2 for i5/os is tightly integrated with the i5/os operating system. The tools are great we can see how DB2 is processing queries. The database can even recommend new indexes or design changes that might improve performance. If we think we see performance bottlenecks, we use the new On Demand Performance Center built into i5/os to uncover ways that we can improve performance. All-in-all, System i provides a very stable highperformance environment for real-time data warehousing and business intelligence. Shorter time-to-market can help improve retail sales By reducing time in the supply chain, designers and merchandisers have more time to react to market trends, enabling them to quickly deliver the products customers are looking for when they browse the racks. That is where the faster time to market enabled by the new BI system pays off. We rely on the consolidated views from the BI system to keep us on track. Managers can anticipate problems by drilling down to find out what could throw a garment off schedule, says Epstein. That ability to manage by exception enables us to avoid delays. Now, we have the best combination of up-to-the-minute creative designs and production processes that enable early detection, fast reactions and precise execution. Consolidated real-time reporting helps improve back-office productivity Having a flexible real-time reporting tool that accesses information in all the company s systems has eliminated a large amount of back-office labor spent on reporting. Back-office workflow is also simplified, due in particular to the automation of many manual reports. Says Epstein, Now those employees have more time to help us improve the business rather than simply creating reports.

6 For more information For more information, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit us on the Web at: ibm.com/ondemand/ ibm.com/systems/i Copyright IBM Corporation 2007 IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY Produced in the United States of America June 2007 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, DB2, i5/os, System i, System i5 and WebSphere are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Performance data for IBM and non-ibm products and services contained in this document was derived under specific operating and environmental conditions. The actual results obtained by any party implementing such products or services will depend on a large number of factors specific to such party s operating environment and may vary significantly. IBM makes no representation that these results can be expected or obtained in any implementation of any such products or services. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED AS-IS WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED. Information about Elie Tahari Ltd. in this case study has been posted with permission. IBM can use information about Elie Tahari Ltd. from this case study in internal IBM presentations only and on internal and external IBM Web sites. Any other use of this content requires prior approval from Elie Tahari Ltd. through ISC03014-USEN-00

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