Allied Consultants | Mark’s (Canadian Tire Company)
Allied Consultants,an employee owned IT consulting firm specializing in Enterprise Application Integration, Business Intelligence, Web 2.0 & Mobile solutions.
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Mark’s (Canadian Tire Company)

Country or Origin: Canada

Industry: Clothing & Footwear

Customer Profile

Mark`s is a part of Canadian Tire group of companies and is regarded as a leading brand providing extraordinary clothing and footwear in Canada. Mark`s offer customers exclusive private labels and Canada’s best sellers in men’s and women’s casual and business wear, outdoor apparel and work wear.
Mark`s has shown significant growth starting from one store in 1977 to over 380 stores across the country.

Situation Analysis

Mark`s desired to generate more revenue by driving profitable sales by adding more customer-facing functions, larger product assortment, better fulfillment rate/speed and better online merchandising management functions. Target was to grow online presence both to the web and store.
As part of the mark`s re-launch, different components needed to be installed such as:

  • IBM Websphere Commerce Server (WCS) and Websphere Content Manager (WCM) platform.
  • Canadian Tire Corporation Digital ecommerce foundation layer
  • PCI-compliant Moneris payment gateway
  • FastFind (custom-built Order Management System)
  • JDA Retail/Inventory system

Components listed above are all highly function oriented separate entities that need to communicate with each other extensively, following concerns were upraised:

  • How will Synchronous or Asynchronous interactions be done between 2 entities?
  • How will transformation be done easily and effectively?
  • How will validation be done for the requests?
  • How will security be enforced to authenticate requests?
  • How will certain requests to be routed to certain servers based on business rules?
  • How will a configuration change be done easily without disturbing individual entities?
  • What will the notification procedure in case of a business event?

Solution

To address above mentioned concerns, Allied consultants proposed ESB based enterprise integration solution.

Solution was architected to guarantee that the business rules are externalized and functionality is componentized to promote flexibility, scalability, and reuse.

All applications/components and services in the enterprise were linked to the ESB layer to communicate with each other over the ESB using SOA standards. EAI technologies such as adapters were used to integrate with Moneris and JDA.

ESB layer handled routing details, mediation of differences and physical details of communication. Business logic and physical details in ESB were made highly configurable based on properties files.

For Asynchronous interactions, where sender and receiver of the message did not need to interact with each other at the same time, MQ Queue was used between sender and ESB layer.

For massive data transfer where real time update was not required, ETL technology was used to compliment ESB layer. IBM Datastage was used for this purpose.

Benefits

Other than answering the concerns mentioned above related to virtualization, transformation, routing, validation, event handling, interaction, and security enforcement, ESB based solution has benefited Mark`s in numerous dimensions related to cost, performance and flexibility.

The solution reduced discrepancies during real-time transactions, enhanced customer satisfaction.  All error handling is being done at ESB layer, making exception processing extremely fast that resulted in revenue savings. Development time and cost is highly reduced because of framework`s ability to change with more pace based on business requirements.

Mark`s expected to generate $8 Million in revenue the first year solution was implemented, growing to over $20 Millions in next 5 years.

Technology Used

  •      IBM Websphere Integration Developer 6.2
  •      IBM Websphere Process Server
  •      IBM Websphere ESB
  •      IBM Information Server 8.1
  •      IBM Datastage 8.1
  •      IBM MQ Queue 7.5
  •      UNIX – HP-UX
  •      UNIX – AIX
  •      IBM DB2
  •     Oracle 10g
  •     Java

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