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Location

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Industry

Retail & Wholesale

Customer’s functional department

  • Supply chain, inventory & Logistics
  • Sales and marketing

Background & customer profile

According to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Survey, retailers have prioritized revenue- and efficiency increasing digitalization strategies. Three market forces have proved to be the catalysts in this digitization strategy. These include:

  1. Digital-savvy consumers
  2. New market entrants
  3. New business models

In this particular project, Paper Source, a fast-growing retail chain based out of Chicago, Illinois intended to extend its platform from brick and mortar to e-commerce, making it available on mobile as well as on the desktop.

Paper Source’s leadership planned to activate platform extention via better integration between the company’s internal processes i.e. omni-channel order fulfillment, sales forecasting, and marketing.

The Midwest retail chain had the vision and strategy to transform into a unified, customer-led digital retail business. It chose Allied Consultants as an integration partner to unify the backend IT systems and provide better experience to the internal teams (sales, supply chain, and IT), C-level executives, and customers.

Challenge

Papersource was using multiple systems such as Aptos (Merch, EOM, CRM), Dynamics GP, Salesforce, SharePoint, and Tableau. Each of the systems was critical to the business needs, however, having multiple systems gave birth to some vexing problems such as:

  • Critical business need to integrate systems such as Aptos, Dynamics GP, ProShip, Magento, SharePoint , Salesforce, WInSCP, etc.
  • Lack of application integration across channels (brick-n-mortar & online store) and business functions (sales, operations, and supply chain)
  • Lack of End-to-end tracking of Order lifecycle and fulfilment
  • Critical systems without supporting documentation
  • Existing IT team overwhelmed by having to support across different time zones
  • Lack of inventory & shipment visibility due to the absence of a single pane view (a unified executive dashboard for C-level executives)
  • Lack of precision in Omnichannel sales forecasting becuase the current set-up/tooling required application integration

The solution

The first phase of the project was to integrate multiple vendor systems like Aptos (Merch, EOM, CRM), Microsoft Dynamics GP, Salesforce, SharePoint, and Tableau. We provided Papersource with a customized enterprise data management (EDM) strategy, an implementation plan, and a development timeline to unify data coming from all the systems.

Allied Consultants developed a unified data warehouse capable of meeting the business needs of sales, operations and IT teams of Papersource.

Nature of work performed by Allied Consultants

  • Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)
  • Database Optimization
  • Application Support
  • Database Administration in multiple time zones
  • Managed Platform Services

Business value

Having implemented the solution, Papersource was able to:

  • Move towards a multi-channel, anywhere, anytime business model
  • Reduce its costs for development and support through Allied Consultants
  • Gain better visibility into its inventories
  • Reduce its transaction processing time via STP (straight through processing)
  • Achieve near real-time sales forecasting
  • Leverage managed application integration and support services
  • Obtain 16×7 support services for its data warehouse that starts operations early in the morning

Allied Consultants became an extended arm of Papersource’s in-house IT team helping the latter to support database operations throughout multiple time zones.         

Practice areas involved

  • B2B and Enterprise Application Integration 
  • Business Intelligence

Technology stack

  • SQL Server (SSIS, SSRS.. )
  • Tableau 
  • Integration
  • Aptos (Merch, EOM, CRM)
  • Dynamics GP
  • ProShip
  • Magento
  • SharePoint 
  • Salesforce
  • WInSCP