Founded in 1966 by Pierre Bellon in Marseilles, France, Sodexo is now a global, Fortune 500 company and the worldwide leader in quality-of-life services, including food and facilities management, motivational solutions, and business strategy services. For more than 40 years, the company has developed unique expertise, backed by nearly 420,000 employees in 80 countries across the globe. Sodexo’s services help reinforce the well-being of individuals and help companies and organizations improve their performance. The company serves more than 15 million consumers each day.
Because Sodexo offers a wide breadth of services across many industries, the company needed a robust enterprise business intelligence platform to support more than 10,000 North American users. It wanted to streamline many business processes and get information into managers’ hands more quickly to improve decision-making capabilities. Sodexo also wanted to reduce its IT support costs and enable employees working in the field to access pertinent data and dashboards via desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
Sodexo deployed Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine as a data warehousing and analytics platform, consolidating all information from major functions, including human resources, finance, supply management, and retail points of sale (POS).
“Oracle Exadata enabled us to significantly cut the batch times and publish approximately 730,000 PDFs per month. In addition to its excellent performance, Oracle Exadata gives us an extremely stable enterprise data warehouse environment. We get great support and can address disk failures without any production downtime,” said Kishore Agasthi, vice president of information management, Sodexo.
Sodexo also deployed a dashboard application—accessible via desktops, laptops, and mobile devices and based on Oracle Essbase and Oracle Exalytics. This application provides unit managers in North America with visibility into key performance indicators (KPI’s) for each unit’s performance, along with comparisons to similar units, enabling front-end managers to compare performance against their peers and identify opportunities for improvement. The system also allows managers to provide comments, such as, why a specific KPI is off track. This improves senior management’s understanding of actual performance against key performance indicators.
“With Oracle Exalytics, we increased the cube history from two years to four years, giving us access to additional historical data. And, we can support more than 10,000 users with hundreds of concurrent queries without concern of crashing the system,” Agasthi said.
“With the in-memory technology, we can take a process that we previously would have batched and complete it in almost real time. That is really significant for our operators who are making decisions based on those metrics. That capability was not readily available before. Now, with Oracle Exalytics, it comes boxed with the software—a huge advantage for our business analytics team,” Agasthi said.
Sodexo’s financial analysts are responsible for analyzing the suppliers from which the company purchases, as well as identifying opportunities for savings. Previously, Sodexo’s data warehouse was well structured but not fast enough to answer all analysts’ questions. With the performance improvements gained with Oracle, Sodexo has reduced query processing time to 30 seconds or less, enabling the company’s analysts to run many more queries and identify new opportunities for cost savings.
Due to Oracle Exadata’s performance and reliability, as well as its Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression functionality, Sodexo has also started to bring its high volume POS data into the data warehouse with the goal of better understanding product contribution analysis.
With Oracle Exadata, Sodexo achieved an 8x to 10x improvement in compression, enabling it to easily manage a 10 terabyte data warehouse on a quarter-rack machine. The company can also back up its database much more quickly.
Sodexo is in the process of implementing Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, which will enable it to take its Oracle Essbase application from a user-based model to a server-based model—substantially reducing support costs.
After a comprehensive, two-month proof of concept phase that examined Oracle and other massively parallel platforms with shared-nothing architectures, Sodexo selected Oracle Exadata Database Machine, due to its storage capacity, redundancy, and infrastructure architected for high-speed performance on a data warehouse.
Sodexo chose Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine because it complemented the Oracle Exadata solution with high-speed analytics.
“We took our production data and ran it through the exact same scenarios we would use on a regular basis. Oracle Exadata beat everything else by large margins. In addition, because we had Oracle Essbase, the next obvious candidate for purchase was Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine. We evaluated it from cost and performance perspectives and determined it was the best choice for our environment,” Agasthi said.
Sodexo completed the Oracle Exadata implementation in 2011, in house, working with one representative from Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services. After receiving the quarter-rack Oracle Exadata Database Machine, configuration took only one-and-a-half weeks. Then, Sodexo migrated from its old hardware to Oracle Exadata and ran a few test cycles before going live.
“It was a very easy implementation. We didn’t need an implementation partner. From start to finish, it took less than six weeks. Throughout the process, we received excellent support from Oracle. As an IT organization, we want to spend more time adding value to our business and less on system configuration. Oracle’s engineered systems enable us to do that,” Agasthi said.
One year later, Sodexo implemented Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine, completing configuration and software installation in just one to two weeks and then migrating Oracle Essbase within four weeks. Within five weeks, Sodexo had its Oracle Essbase applications running several times faster. The company is now migrating applications to Oracle Business Intelligence Edition.