DHL Business Intelligence

Challenge
DHL Express is the world's largest provider of international express mail services represented in 220+ countries and territories and processing over 1.5 billion shipments per year. To manage its rapidly growing data infrastructure, DHL contracted Teradata (NYSE:TDC), one of the most well-known providers of Data Warehousing and Analytics solutions. As DHL had been increasingly adopting a variety of sophisticated business analysis and planning techniques, Teradata faced the need to provide a growing number of automated reports and Business Intelligence tools for DHL business analysis and general managers, who were pressed to increase efficiency and explore more ways to generate revenue. To meet these needs, Teradata enrolled the services of ESI teams who had extensive experience in developing enterprise Business Intelligence tools under "Reselling under the Client's Brand" agreement. Since the beginning of this collaboration ESI was challenged to deliver over 80 large analytical projects of varying degree of sophistication and complexity.

Result
With the help of ESI experts, Teradata has been consistently fulfilling its contractual obligations to DHL by delivering sophisticated analytics and reporting products within highly competitive budgets and timeframes. The several year long collaboration with ESI enabled Teradata to meet DHL growing Business Intelligence needs with modern and holistic tools, which replaced its inconsistent legacy systems. Based on the data regarding 2+billion customer records and 1.5+billion annual shipments, these products brought clarity and insight through easy-to-understand reports, allowed for the effective Customer Relationship Management, added the possibility of enhanced shipment tracking, pricing analysis, discount optimization and yield comparison, and revealed numerous opportunities for operational improvement and profitability increase. Almost all new products were met with high accolades from DHL business analysts and senior executives who continued purchasing more and more of them even during the toughest economic environment. Teradata has partnered with ESI on a dedicated basis and has been continuously expanding the involvement of ESI professionals.

Action
DHL has three data warehouses of 10TB total cross-referenced with numerous satellite databases updated from 6,500+ global offices each having its local, business and legal peculiarities. Working on DHL projects required not only an extremely high level of technical expertise, but also superior teamwork and cross-functional collaboration skills. A tight cooperation with globally distributed Teradata and DHL business professionals was paramount for success. ESI specialists were supposed to work as an integral part of Teradata in-house team and together evaluate the business processes and elicit the requirements from DHL managers in various business units. To succeed in this relationship, ESI

  • Engaged its best Business Analysts with multi-disciplinary skills in enterprise data warehouse management, database design, data consistency analysis, query performance optimization, analytical processing, statistics, and business modeling with 8-15 years of relevant work experience in their areas of expertise.
  • Sent ESI technical directors on-site to Teradata office in Prague, Czech Republic in order for them to become familiar with DHL existing backend products and data warehouse architecture, get acquainted with the key people, and learn Teradata internal company processes.
  • Fully adopted Teradata project management and business procedures with a number of ESI-proposed enhancements originating from its prior experience with establishing effective business communication, as well as centralized bug tracking and change request management.
  • Tightly cooperated with Teradata business and technology professionals at all stages.
  • On behalf of Teradata, regularly interacted with globally-distributed DHL business analysts to actively elicit important information and feedback regarding the current and the required functionality, DHL business processes, as well as their immediate and future Business Intelligence needs.
  • Kept the appropriate stakeholders informed about the data inconsistencies, tracked the details, and asked timely questions to ensure accuracy, precision and clarity of the generated reports. Tracked and effectively prioritized functionality extension requests and QA issues.
  • Actively sought feedback from cross-functional Teradata and DHL professionals regarding the delivered functionality, the relevancy, accuracy and clarify of the generated reports, as well as the reliability and quality of the delivered products.

Product Highlights
In tight cooperation with Teradata teams, ESI delivered over 80 sophisticated analytical tools and reports that glean together business data from several disparate data sources in a consistent manner fully compliant with the business rules defined by DHL managers. These products provide an invaluable insight into the structure of the company global business units, company customers, bottlenecks in operational procedures, optimal pricing strategies, and hidden opportunities to increase revenue and boost profitability. The most important of them are:

  • 2D SMART - a web-based Revenue and Profitability reporting tool. It additionally provides Pricing and Yield Infrastructure, Benefits Analysis; tracking of Fuel Surcharge Compliance, Remote Area Service Compliance, and Weight Compliance; reporting of Value Added Services, Delivery Density, and Effective Discounts.
  • GoGreen an intelligent Value Added Service that helps DHL customers to calculate and reduce CO2 emissions. It is currently available in 8 European countries and is being rapidly rolled-out further across Europe.
  • RDE Data Approval tool - a web based data quality control product for legacy systems transactions that enables data owners to review and validate their data before it is loaded into the central warehouse.
  • Fuzzy Logic String Comparison tool for testing and improvement of customer search and matching used worldwide by DHL Customer Relationship Management and backend analytics systems.
  • Extra Charge Grouping Maintenance tool - a web based project for the consistent Extra Charge Codes grouping.
  • BI Commercial Portal Activity Reports allowing for the possibility to track user activities at DHL web portals.
  • COGNOS-based Analytical Reports covering a variety of company business aspects including Data Mining, Shipment Analysis, Data Loading, and a multitude of others.
Technologies and Tools Used
- Java (server side); JavaScript, D(X)HTML, CSS (client side); Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5, C#
- SQL (DB part); COGNOS (COGNOS Windows Server, Cognos BI Server v8.x, Cognos Modeling v8.x, Cognos Studio v8.x); TERADATA (TERADATA Server, TERADATA v6 tools,
  TERADATA v12 tools); Oracle 9.x; Microsoft SQL Server; PostgreSQL; MySQL; Microsoft Access / VBA
- Windows 2003 Server (development environment); HP-UX (production environment); Red Hat Enterprise Linux; VMWare on HP-UX
- Borland StarTeam 2008; Microsoft Project 2007
"Over the years we worked with ESI we have been pleasantly surprised by their level of professionalism, attention to detail, and responsibility. They are among the best outsourcers we worked with. ESI developed very complex analytical projects for our client and they demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and technical expertise. What I liked most, is their culture of taking the responsibility for the outcome. They persist asking important questions when the requirements are incomplete, they are extremely proactive to notify us of any impediments, and they are absolutely dedicated to meeting the agreed upon schedule. I would have no doubt recommending ESI for anyone looking for enterprise level professionals with deep understanding of business analytics."
Teradata