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Posted: 3/12/2012
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Dotz Marketing Brazilian Firm Boosts Efficiency and Runs BI Reports 10 Times Faster with Private Cloud

At a time of rapid expansion, Dotz Marketing sought a highly available and scalable database solution with advanced business intelligence (BI) tools. The company deployed a Microsoft database solution in a private-cloud environment. The solution increased efficiency, and nontechnical users now create BI reports in one-tenth of the previous time. Decision making has improved, and Dotz gained a cost-effective infrastructure to its support mission-critical needs and drive continued growth.

Business Needs

Dotz Marketing manages the leading coalition loyalty program in Latin America, with more than 100 retail sponsors. The sponsors pay Dotz to manage the rewards program, in which the sponsors’ customers earn award points, called dotz, for every purchase they make. More than 500 dotz per second are awarded at 6,000 locations. “The program is so popular that dotz have become almost a second currency in Brazil,” says Fabio Tavares, Chief Operating Officer at Dotz Marketing.

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* By using xVelocity and SQL Server 2012 Integration Services, we reduced our load process by more than 50 percent, and with Power View, we can run BI reports 10 times faster.  *

Fabio Tavares
Chief Operating Officer
Dotz Marketing

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By 2011, Dotz had expanded to four offices and was forming a new partnership with the largest bank in Brazil. To support its growth, Dotz needed a highly available and scalable database that could handle the more than 1.5 million mission-critical transactions that Dotz processed each day. It also wanted advanced business intelligence (BI) tools to help with decision making and planning for sales and marketing campaigns and promotions. In addition, the company sought a cost-effective solution.

Solution

In the midst of its expansion, Dotz decided to participate in an early adoption program for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 data management software. It was already using SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Standard, running on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Dotz also used Microsoft Excel 2010 spreadsheet software, the Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 presentation graphics program, and Microsoft SharePoint technology for collaboration between offices. “Because we are very satisfied with our Microsoft software, Microsoft was our first choice for our new database solution,” says Renato Monteiro, IT Manager at Dotz Marketing.

Dotz tested a preliminary version of SQL Server 2012 in February 2011 and deployed the release candidate in July 2011. It implemented SQL Server 2012 Enterprise in a private-cloud computing environment—using solely internal resources and deploying it behind the firewall. For hardware, Dotz used a Dell PowerEdge R610 rack server with two quad-core processors and 48 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. The private cloud is built on the extensive virtualization capabilities of Hyper-V technology—an integral part of Windows Server 2008 R2. The company briefly considered a third-party virtualization solution but found SQL Server 2012 more cost-effective.

Dotz took advantage of several features of SQL Server 2012 when it set up its new database system. For example, it chose SQL Server 2012 Integration Services to handle the integration of the massive volumes of data generated by the 1.5 million daily transactions at the 6,000 locations where dotz are awarded.

The company employed the xVelocity memory-optimized columnstore index to accelerate query performance by storing data in columns, instead of rows, and using the VertiPaq engine for in-memory data compression and processing. Finally, Dotz took advantage of the high availability and disaster recovery features of SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn. With AlwaysOn availability groups, its sets of databases fail over collectively to reduce downtime and keep processes running continuously. Dotz has three databases of 500 GB each, with the largest table in excess of 100 million rows.

Dotz also uses SQL Server Power View, part of SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services, which, together with the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in, provides web-based access to SQL Server data. Power View uses the Microsoft Business Intelligence Semantic Model so that nontechnical users can create rich BI reports without having to understand database schemas or dimensional concepts.

Benefits

Dotz is impressed with how its Microsoft database solution has increased efficiency, improved marketing and sales, and provided a cost-effective infrastructure.

Increases Efficiency and Responsiveness

Dotz especially credits SQL Server 2012 for increased efficiency in BI. “We have noticed a combined speed and volume performance gain that is astounding us daily,” says Tavares. “By using xVelocity and SQL Server 2012 Integration Services, we reduced our load process by more than 50 percent, and with Power View, we can run BI reports 10 times faster than before.”

Previously, it sometimes took weeks for account managers to receive a report from the IT or BI group, as information was gathered and analyzed. “Now, with Power View and the BI Semantic Model, the information is available almost instantly,” says Nilson Almeida, Business Intelligence Specialist at Dotz Marketing.

The seamless interaction between Power View and other Microsoft products also helps. “We used to extract information from SQL Server, copy it to Excel, create presentations in PowerPoint, and publish them later,” says Almeida. “Today, everything can be done in one click!”
Almeida elaborates: “With Power View, an account manager who is responsible for grocers in Belo Horizonte can quickly create a report and distribute it by SharePoint to his counterpart in Brasilia. That helps us to be more responsive.”

Improves Marketing and Sales

Dotz can now analyze thousands of credit and debit transactions at a time. “Our analysts and account managers can quickly detect trends and gain insights with Power View that pay off in better planning for marketing campaigns and promotions,” says Tavares.

Dotz also creates detailed reports for its customers for a variety of areas, from analyses of specific markets to the value of consumer shopping baskets. “Now, we can clearly prove the value of the Dotz loyalty program to our customers to help both sales and retention,” says Tavares..

Provides a Cost-Effective Infrastructure

Dotz has gained a highly available, cost-effective, and scalable database that will support its mission-critical needs and simplifies life for IT management. The IT group continues to oversee IT operations. “However, because we spend less time in report preparation, we can devote our time to more strategic pursuits,” says Monteiro. “The private-cloud infrastructure simplifies management, too.”

Dotz expects that the solution will serve it a long time. “SQL Server 2012 is a first-class database that will help us expand our business,” says Tavares. “It is also more competitive in price than others. It meets our needs now, and it will be even more valuable in the future.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 900 employees

Organization Profile
Dotz Marketing, headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, manages the largest coalition loyalty program in Latin America. Founded in 2001, the company serves more than 3 million of its sponsors’ customers.

Hardware
Dell PowerEdge R610 server computer

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Microsoft Silverlight Technologies
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

Vertical Industries
Media & Cable

Country/Region
Brazil

Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting

IT Issue
  • High Availability
  • Private Cloud

Languages
English

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