BRAAS is a large distributor of industrial automation products in the U.S., serving companies worldwide.
For Tim Bloudek, Director of Business Information Systems at BRAAS, keeping ERP data safely isolated yet readily accessible was a challenge. Millions of products, thousands of active customers and a need for near real-time analysis and reporting—that wouldn’t slow down the ERP system—drove Bloudek to seek a data replication solution.
The solution would have to be able to handle the massive data volume, keep information safe and, most importantly, enable the flexibility for Bloudek and his team to work with other data management tools.
Since 1961, BRAAS has been helping customers maintain, automate and improve manufacturing systems across industries ranging from food packaging to bio medical. For Bloudek and the BRAAS team, a smart approach to information management has always been a priority.
“We recognized about a decade ago that we were going to have to be pretty darn good at information,” Bloudek explains. Today, Bloudek’s definition of being “good at information” involves a pretty specific list of tasks. Over time, as processes evolve and change, Bloudek wants information management solutions capable of keeping up. To avoid potential limitations, he sought a solution that would help him get to information more efficiently and effectively and would integrate with third-party tools seamlessly.
Bloudek spent the better part of a year fine-tuning another data warehousing solution before he discovered Progress® OpenEdge® Pro2™ data replication. After nine months, the first solution still wasn’t enabling all of the functionality he was looking for. When he finally gave up on it and moved forward with implementing the OpenEdge Pro2 solution, he was up and running in a matter of weeks.
OpenEdge Pro2 data replication gave Bloudek everything he was looking for, starting with timely information. “Our previous replication solution required us to run a lot of batch loads and we needed information in real time,” he says. The real-time aspect of the replicated OpenEdge Pro2 data, used for reporting, protects the company from potentially expensive transactional errors. “We’ve set up alerts based on real-time information and we can automate searches to find and fix problems before they escalate into significant performance issues,” he explains.
With OpenEdge Pro2, accessing data doesn’t slow ERP performance. Bloudek and his team are able to separate their production environment from their reporting needs and keep data moving quickly and safely. “When we run massive reports, we’re not impacting our ERP system at all,” he says.
After the initial implementation, Bloudek and his team elected to make some adjustments to the solution with the help of the OpenEdge Pro2 support team. “When we needed the help, it was readily available and timely,” Bloudek says.
When it comes to analytics and third-party tools, Bloudek loves the flexibility OpenEdge Pro2 enables. “Pro2 data replication gives us a huge amount of flexibility to use the BI and analytic tools of our choice,” he says. “We’re not locked into any one.”
From Bloudek’s perspective, OpenEdge Pro2 data replication has helped BRAAS use data like never before. “Pro2 has really enabled us to get to information more efficiently and effectively,” he says. “We’ve greatly improved our ability to quickly turn that information into actions.”
For the BRAAS organization, the OpenEdge Pro2 solution has enabled:
The freedom to choose whatever reporting and analytic tools the team prefers
ERP data protection and reporting that doesn’t impact the ERP production database or its performance
Report creation and modification in about a third of the time
Compared to other products, OpenEdge Pro2 came with a speedy implementation that saved Bloudek valuable time and freed him up to focus on other initiatives. “We were up and running in a couple of weeks versus six to nine months,” Bloudek explains.
Looking forward, the OpenEdge Pro2 solution has given him an answer for data replication that can support BRAAS initiatives into the future. “We’re on the verge of implementing a new CRM and quoting package so I might have a potential solution there as well,” he concludes.