J.R. Simplot Company by MicrosoftCaseStudies


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									                                              Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
                                              Customer Solution Case Study

                                              Agribusiness Concern Boosts Customer
                                              Responsiveness with EAI/EDI Solution

Overview                                      “In agribusiness, we have to differentiate ourselves on
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Agriculture, Manufacturing
                                              the basis of customer service and cost. The Microsoft
                                              Application Platform is enabling us to do that more
Customer Profile
The J.R. Simplot Company, based in Boise,
Idaho, and with 12,000 employees, is an       Roger Parks, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, J.R. Simplot
agribusiness concern operating throughout     Company
the United States, Canada, Australia, and
                                              J. R. Simplot Company needed a better way to support the
                                              technology requirements of its fast-growing agribusinesses. Custom
Business Situation
Simplot needed better ways to integrate its
                                              point-to-point integrations between its J.D. Edwards enterprise
J.D. Edwards ERP system with third-party      resource planning (ERP) software and a growing number of third-
applications and to work with its trading
partners, and to better organize its
                                              party applications were taking too much time to develop. The
enterprise data.                              Simplot Company’s enterprise data warehouse and reporting
                                              capabilities were struggling to keep up with the increasing business
Simplot adopted a solution based on           needs. So, Simplot adopted an enterprise application integration
Microsoft® BizTalk® Server and SQL
Server™ to streamline internal integration,
                                              solution and data warehouse and reporting solution based on
facilitate integration with customers and     Microsoft® technologies. As a result, the time to implement
suppliers, and boost reporting abilities.
                                              integrations has been cut from months to weeks. The time to create
Benefits                                      new reports has been cut from weeks to days. By using the
 Integration time cut from months to
                                              Microsoft Application Platform, Simplot can deliver solutions more
 Report creation cut from weeks to days      efficiently to meet growing business requirements and improve
 Provides flexible supply chain
                                              customer service.
 Reduces risk for large, fast-growing
 Boosts customer responsiveness
“The design review                           Situation                                           Contract Management System to implement
                                             The J.R. Simplot Company likes to describe          pricing and contract information for its
confirmed that SQL                           itself as “bringing earth’s resources to life”.     dealings with food brokers and customers.
Server could support our                     The private agribusiness operates farms and         Simplot quickly had several such special-
                                             ranches, potato and vegetable processing            purpose third-party applications, each of
needs for enterprise                         plants, agricultural fertilizer production, and     which had to be custom-integrated with J.D.
performance, scalability,                    services for growers and farmers. One of the        Edwards.
                                             things that J.R. Simplot grows best isn’t on
and data warehouse                           that list: itself. With rapidly increasing annual   Those custom integrations were time
reporting.”                                  revenues now at U.S.$3.4 billion, the               consuming, each taking from hundreds of
                                             company is one of the largest and fastest-          hours up to 2,000 hours to implement. And
Roger Parks, Vice President of Information   growing private businesses in the United            those investments weren’t one-time
Technology and Chief Information Officer,    States.                                             propositions. Each time either the third-party
J.R. Simplot Company                                                                             applications or J.D. Edwards ERP software
                                             As its business has grown, Simplot has              was upgraded, Simplot had to update the
                                             updated its technology infrastructure to keep       integration.
                                             up. In the run-up to the year 2000, the
                                             company had a series of separate non-               “We knew that as we increased our use of
                                             integrated systems in its various divisions,        third-party applications with J.D. Edwards, the
                                             hindering the ability to aggregate data into a      situation would quickly become untenable,”
                                             single, comprehensive financial view of the         says Parks. “We would have to either add
                                             entire enterprise, as well as to share data         staff or consider outsourcing to manage the
                                             from division to division. The company              connections. We were looking at spending up
                                             conducted a review of five leading enterprise       to hundreds of thousands of dollars for these
                                             resource planning (ERP) systems and chose           integrations.”
                                             J.D. Edwards.
                                                                                                 The second issue facing the company
                                             For its J.D. Edwards operating platform,            concerned the thousands of electronic
                                             Simplot chose the IBM iSeries model 830,            business-to-business messages it used every
                                             with DB2 as the database. At the time, Roger        day. These messages consist of customer
                                             Parks, Vice President of Information                orders, order confirmations, warehouse
                                             Technology and Chief Information Officer, and       shipping notices, and inventory information,
                                             his colleagues felt that J.D. Edwards was the       as well as transportation and shipment
                                             most cost-effective platform to run a single        location information, all of which must be
                                             instance of the solution for their 1,000            passed to the J.D. Edwards ERP software.
                                             simultaneous users.
                                                                                                 One popular choice for doing this through
                                             As the company continued to work with its           electronic data interchange (EDI) was
                                             J.D. Edwards solution, it identified two issues     Gentran software by Sterling Commerce. This
                                             to address. The first concerned integration of      approach had been in place at the Simplot
                                             third-party applications. Because of the            Company for years, but the software was
                                             distinctive nature of its diverse businesses,       scheduled to lose support on the iSeries
                                             Simplot needed to augment its J.D. Edwards          platform. The replacement offering, GIS,
                                             ERP software with specialty third-party             would have required an implementation as
                                             applications, such as IBM’s Data Collection         an enterprise application integration (EAI)
                                             System for the warehouse management                 tool, but it wasn’t on the company’s short list
                                             needs of its Food Group, and the I-Many             for such tools.
“Our developers find                         Business messaging was an important part of       BizTalk Server 2006 includes 23 application
                                             the company’s vision. It saw coordination of      and technology adapters in the box for
BizTalk Server extremely                     supply-chain activities, through business         connecting to legacy systems (mainframe and
intuitive, with tools that                   messaging, as crucial to many of its              mid-range) and line-of-business applications—
                                             commodity-based businesses. And it saw            including the J.D. Edwards software that
automate much of the                         connectivity with customers and supply-chain      Simplot uses. Simplot decided that BizTalk
development process                          partners—especially when those customers          Server would provide the scalability the
                                             and partners didn’t support EDI—as crucial        company needed to support its growing
and streamline the rest.                     for the company’s continued and increased         number of integrations, as well as support an
An integration process                       competitiveness.                                  additional ERP system that Simplot was
                                                                                               running for one of its lines of business.
that formerly took                           Simplot had also been working with a              BizTalk Server would also provide flexibility
months has been cut to                       business-to-business third-party managed          for handling EDI over the Internet. As an
                                             services provider, InterTrade, which had          added bonus, BizTalk Server cost much less
weeks.”                                      sharply reduced the company’s cost of             than a competitive solution that the company
Roger Parks, Vice President of Information   transmitting and receiving EDI messages over      considered.
Technology and Chief Information Officer,    the Internet. Simplot also saw the use of
J.R. Simplot Company                         XML-based messaging and the exchange of           The BizTalk Server solution runs on a load-
                                             XML-based documents with customers,               balanced pair of 64-bit Hewlett-Packard
                                             suppliers, service providers and others, as       ProLiant DL385 computers, configured in an
                                             part of its business messaging vision. Steve      active-active cluster for high availability. A
                                             Pochardt, IT Director of Enterprise               separate pair of ProLiant computers hosts an
                                             Performance Optimization, Simplot, was            active-active cluster of Microsoft SQL Server™
                                             tasked with working with InterTrade and           2005, the database software for BizTalk
                                             Simplot’s other business-to-business partners     Server.
                                             to identify an integration solution.
                                                                                               The solution replaces the previous iSeries-
                                             Solution                                          based Gentran EDI software with a single
                                             The consensus solution that emerged was           inbound and single outbound BizTalk Server
                                             based on Microsoft® BizTalk® Server 2006,         orchestration based on XML to move
                                             the business process management server            business messaging information between J.D.
                                             that enables companies to automate and            Edwards and Simplot’s trading partners.
                                             optimize business processes.                      About 35 EDI maps support the
                                                                                               orchestrations. A scheduler kicks off EDI
                                             To address the integration issue, Simplot         transactions every 15 minutes. The solution
                                             decided that BizTalk Server 2006, as an EAI       currently supports 1.1 million transactions
                                             tool, would serve as a single integration point   annually. “It’s barely causing BizTalk Server
                                             between the J.D. Edwards software and the         to churn,” says Jo McCarthy, IT Architect,
                                             company’s third-party applications,               Simplot.
                                             eliminating the need to manage a growing
                                             number of custom integrations. And Simplot        To address their growing enterprise data
                                             engaged InterTrade to assist in transitioning     warehousing issue, Simplot hosted Microsoft
                                             its EDI transactions and business messaging       for a two-day architecture design session to
                                             to BizTalk Server 2006, because InterTrade        review its existing data architecture and to
                                             had already helped another client with the        discuss alternatives. “The design review
                                             same transition.                                  considered our current use of DB2,” says
                                                                                               Parks. “It also confirmed that SQL Server
“We expect our new                           could support our needs for enterprise            as quickly as the company’s lines of
                                             performance, scalability, and data warehouse      businesses need them, eliminating a
reports will also enable                     reporting.”                                       potential drag on the company’s ability to
our decision makers to                                                                         adopt and maintain business solutions that
                                             Simplot recently moved its data warehouse         deliver competitive advantage.
more easily analyze key                      from DB2 to a pair of clustered computers
business issues.”                            hosting SQL Server 2005. The company is in        Report Creation Cut from Weeks to
                                             the process of converting its reporting system    Days
Roger Parks, Vice President of Information   to SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services. Now,       As it moves to adopt the new data warehouse
Technology and Chief Information Officer,    it’s exploring Microsoft ProClarity® and          and reporting solution, Simplot sees a range
J.R. Simplot Company                         Microsoft Office PerformancePoint™ Server to      of additional benefits. Reports that formerly
                                             provide analytical capability for business        took two weeks or more to create can now be
                                             intelligence, such as dashboards with key         created in days, reducing the burden on the
                                             performance indicators and balanced               IT department and getting reports into the
                                             scorecards.                                       hands of business users much faster than
                                             Simplot has seen drastic reductions in the        Faster report creation also means that
                                             time and cost of implementing integrations        business users will have a broader range of
                                             between J.D. Edwards and its third-party          reports with which to work, providing greater
                                             solutions and in the time it takes to produce     support for decision-making. “We expect our
                                             reports for business users. Best of all, the      new reports will also enable our decision
                                             new solution is a foundation for an end-to-       makers to more easily analyze key business
                                             end supplier-to-customer value chain that will    issues,” says Parks. “As the volume of data
                                             help to increase customer service while           grows, the ability to manage and navigate
                                             decreasing costs.                                 through the increased data with enhanced
                                                                                               insight is extremely important to our business
                                             Integration Time Cut from Months to               decision makers.”
                                             Simplot wanted to reduce the thousands of         Reduces Risk for Large, Fast-Growing
                                             person-hours it took to manage its growing        Business
                                             range of point-to-point connections among         Simplot views its new solution, based on
                                             applications. With BizTalk Server, it has the     BizTalk Server and SQL Server, as a safe
                                             potential to accomplish this.                     choice for a large and fast-growing business.

                                             “With BizTalk Server, we replace the unique,      “From a business standpoint, we’re lowering
                                             custom connections we needed for each             our risk by moving to BizTalk Server and SQL
                                             third-party application communicating with        Server,” says Pochardt. “We are moving to
                                             J.D. Edwards,” says Parks. “Our developers        highly supported, cost-effective solutions with
                                             find BizTalk Server extremely intuitive, with     high availability and fault tolerance. If our
                                             tools that automate much of the                   business-to-business data stream is ever held
                                             development process and streamline the            up for any reason, the highly efficient
                                             rest. An integration process that formerly took   processing of BizTalk Server means we can
                                             months has been cut to weeks.”                    catch up with those transactions quickly,
                                                                                               always within our 15-minute windows. And if
                                             And that in turn means that Simplot’s IT          there’s a longer holdup, BizTalk Server will let
                                             department can add and update connections         us catch up in a single cycle.”
For More Information                                            Boosts Customer Responsiveness                        Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
For more information about Microsoft                            The move to BizTalk Server and SQL Server             For more information about the Microsoft
products and services, call the Microsoft                       also provides a more strategic benefit to             server product portfolio, go to:
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-                          Simplot, according to Parks. “We see the              www.microsoft.com/servers/default.mspx
9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft                             Microsoft technologies providing the
Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-                         foundation for an end-to-end solution
2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-                        enabling virtualization of our supply chain
hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone                      systems that range from our suppliers to our
(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in                         customers,” says Parks. “With supply chain,
the United States or (905) 568-9641 in                          distribution, and customer information all
Canada. Outside the 50 United States and                        managed in a single, highly automated
Canada, please contact your local                               system, we’ll have time to work more
Microsoft subsidiary. To access information                     efficiently with vendors, and to provide better
using the World Wide Web, go to:                                service to customers. In agribusiness, we
www.microsoft.com                                               have to differentiate ourselves on the basis of
                                                                customer service and cost. The Microsoft
For more information about J.R. Simplot                         Application Platform is enabling us to do that
products and services, call (208) 327-                          more effectively.”
3300 or visit the Web site at:
www.simplot.com                                                 For example, Simplot has cut the time
                                                                needed to react to new customer needs. “We
                                                                are able to modify our processes more
                                                                quickly to meet changing customer demands
                                                                for ordering or inventory replenishment,” says
                                                                Lynn Baker, Director of Enterprise Solution
                                                                Delivery at Simplot. “When a customer has a
                                                                particular service need, we can respond to it.
                                                                That makes us a better supplier.”

                                                                Simplot envisions similar advantages in using
                                                                BizTalk Server 2006 to deal with suppliers.
                                                                “We’re talking with our ingredient suppliers
                                                                about using the solution to align our
                                                                production schedules with theirs, to get just-
                                                                in-time deliveries that reduce our need to
                                                                maintain inventories of raw supplies,” says

                                                                 Software and Services                               Technologies
                                                                    Products                                         − Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting
                                                                     − Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006                    Services
                                                                     − Microsoft SQL Server 2005
                                                                                                                     HP ProLiant DL 385

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT

Document published September 2007

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