Exemplis Corporation Business Intelligence and Mentoring

  • Company Background
  • Project Background
  • Approach

Exemplis Corp. is a leading U.S. manufacturer of contract furniture for commercial, healthcare, hospitality and office markets. Its trusted brands include market share leaders SitOnIt Seating and Instant Seating. Customer driven innovations is what led Exemplis to introduce its on-demand business model delivering highly customized, high-quality products to our customers quickly and affordably.

Managing Automation magazine named SitOnIt Seating to its Progressive 50 list, recognizing Exemplis' on-demand model as a core strategic advantage of the company. Exemplis develops brands that provide customers with compelling value propositions for their unique markets. The company is headquartered in Cypress, California.

Exemplis asked Laminar Consulting Services to provide assistance in the mentoring and development of a Business Intelligence Sales Reporting Application. The goal of the application is to provide Exemplis's Finance and Sales department with tools to make better decisions and to provide the finance department with a clearer picture of the actual costs throughout the ordering, manufacturing, and shipping process.

Finance needed a way to analyze these costs in order to assist in negotiating contracts with suppliers and shipping companies. At the time their older process was very manual and it could take up to a week to consolidate and it was prone to errors. By leveraging Business Intelligence, reporting time has been significantly reduced and it illustrated their process and applications lacked other desired detail.

The secondary goal of the project was to illustrate to the business the need for such tools and technologies across the enterprise and to provide the existing IT staff with some basic BI implementation skills moving forward.

Laminar's approach was to mentor and coach Exemplis's IT staff through the creation of the new Data Model, the creation of the SSIS packages, Cube Development and reports development. Laminar was also asked to develop those areas where they felt skills should be augmented. Laminar was responsible for building a data mart and the merging of sales and financial data together using SQL Server Integration Services (ETL).

The finance department was already familiar with pivot tables and had currently used them to analyze data dumps that IT had provided to do the analysis. Mentoring was focused on the areas of data mart design, SSIS and SSAS development. The application is live and in production. Exemplis is now starting to explore other areas of the business where BI can be leveraged.

Roland DGA SharePoint Integration

  • Company Background
  • Background
  • Solution

Roland DGA Corporation is the U.S.-based marketing, distribution and sales arm of Roland DG Corporation of Hamamatsu, Japan, a worldwide leader in the sign, graphic arts, fine art, vehicle graphics, UV, photography, engraving and 3D modeling industries.

Founded in 1981 and listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Roland DG is the world's number one provider of wide-format inkjet printers for the durable graphics market. Roland DG is also affiliated with Roland Corporation, renowned in the music world for developing MIDI technology and for producing sophisticated digital music equipment including keyboard synthesizers, recording equipment and other related technologies.

Laminar Consulting Services was engaged to provide a senior SharePoint Architect and Developer to assist in their Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 implementation. The goal was to provide a senior resource to help mentor their internal staff on the best practices for enhancing and deploying MOSS throughout their enterprise. Laminar was also asked to provide development services from time to time for those requirements that were beyond the skill of the internal Information Technology staff.

Over the course of a year and a half we provided services on a part time basis which worked out to be roughly 20 hours a week. This allowed Roland to make enhancements to their SharePoint site without dedicating an entire team to any given project. Roland DGA later decided to make part of their SharePoint site and external facing portal for their dealers to track orders and create service orders.

In addition the application needed to be extended by building an External Security Provider since their dealers weren't part of their Active Directory Structure. We were also responsible for creating the Service Order Entry portion of the application that is integrated with some of their back end systems such as Great Plains and Microsoft CRM 3.0.

Eastern Municipal Water District Training Depot

  • Background
  • Solution

At the time Eastern Municipal Water District was finding itself with an expanding market, increased product demand and a highly mobile work force that readily needed easy access to Training information.

In an effort to safely provide high quality services, the Eastern Municipal Water District has a responsibility to provide safety information and training to its both permanent and temporary employees. The ongoing training effort was not only a matter of employee development, but also in many cases a matter of regulatory compliance. EMWD was utilizing a number of manual and semi-automated tools to manage and coordinate employee training activities.

As a result, Laminar Consulting Services was engaged to provide Eastern Municipal Water District with recommendations, scope and approach of the development of the next generation Training Depot System.

The Training Depot project was designed to meet the existing Training Information Management challenge by leveraging existing training information management tools and technologies and joining them with advanced tools and technologies.

The Training Depot was developed as the next evolution of an integrated Training Information Management System and provides self management capabilities and reporting services that supports the growing safety, compliance and efficiency goals of the Eastern Municipal Water District.

Laminar's team 's technical approach was to design the proposed solution using .Net technologies into a multi-tiered architecture effectively encapsulating functionality and separating presentation, business and data layers and to simplify and consolidate the data access interface to effectively represent the true data structure. These efforts allowed for easier extensibility, maintainability and deployment of the application, make it easier to deal with usability and consistency issues and allow for refinements in the business logic without affecting other parts of the application.

The Training Depot was developed in a phased approach following structured development methodologies. The solutions Presentation Services was comprised of a combination of thin (Web/Intranet Based) clients and mobile Windows Forms for improved attendance collection activities. The Presentation Services of the application was used to access information via Data Services hosted on central application servers. The Data Services provide robust information integration capabilities to support increased information transfer requirements. These points of integration provide access to existing systems which will maximize the existing IT infrastructure investments. The Service Oriented multi-tiered approach provided maximum flexibility to meet both the current and future needs of EMWD.

The Training Depot is a browser-based application and is an integral part of a larger solution which includes integration with the existing Cyborg system

Standard Pacific Corp Business Intelligence and Reporting

  • Company Background
  • Project Background
Standard Pacific Corp

Standard Pacific's foundation is built on single-family homes. The company, one of the US's top 20 builders, currently builds homes in 16 markets in California and Florida (which combined generate nearly half of its sales), Arizona, the Carolinas, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas. Homes typically range in size from 1,500 to more than 3,500 sq. ft. and are priced from $100,000 to more than $2 million. Standard Pacific also builds condominiums, buys and develops land tracts (both alone and through joint ventures), and offers mortgage loans in all of its markets and title services in Texas and Florida. The company was founded in 1965 by Arthur Svendsen and Ronald Foell.

1.5 Billion Revenue

1300 Employees

At the time we were engaged Standard Pacific Corp had previously implemented a partial reporting solution from Business Objects that wasn't really being utilized. They were doing most of their reporting using a combination of some existing BO reports and Microsoft Access against JD Edwards as their source. It's not uncommon for larger companies implement Business Intelligence solutions and not have them fully utilized. Microsoft Access was being used primarily as an Analysis tool. Other Vendor solutions are fairly complex and require multiple skills in IT as well as end users need to be trained in the tools. Executives rarely take to such tools and go back to the basics using Microsoft Excel and in this case Access.

Standard Pacific Corp initially asked Laminar Consulting services to assist in the development of a PerformancePoint proof of concept in order to demonstrate the value of Enterprise Reporting and Analytics to executive management. Standard Pacific had already implemented SharePoint but it wasn't being fully utilized as a reporting display mechanism. The premise was to put up something in a short amount of time and get business users to embrace the portal for reporting purposes.

Laminar was tasked to provide assistance in the areas of architectural oversight and construction of the BI process and application. The first phase consisted of planning and development of the Staging Database the Operational Data Store and the Datamart. Initially data was to be extracted and pulled from different systems and combined however as the project progressed it was later decided first version would only include financial data for quarterly reporting. The housing market was drastically changing and they needed to get reporting streamlined. These reports where ultimately pushed up into SharePoint and displayed as Dashbords via Microsoft Reporting Services.

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