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Centralised informationAn Post has gone from a situation 5 years ago which consisted of distributed, uncoordinated information in spreadsheets, to a centralised highly connected data warehouse that facilitates dashboards and analytics and near real-time insights to guide the business, reports John Cronin, CIO.

With various Oracle installations through the business, there was already a level of familiarity and comfort, reports Cronin, but when the decision was made to look for a data warehouse solution, there was a still competitive process.

Oracle was chosen after six months of discussion, said Cronin. There had been Oracle databases in An Post for many years, he says, running systems and services such as the state savings bank system, and the fixed penalty notice system with the Gardaí.

The Oracle GoldenGate system was chosen and implemented. GoldenGate is a comprehensive software package for real-time data integration and replication in heterogeneous IT environments.

Small test

Mail operations were included in the first phase roll out, followed by payroll in phase two. For an organisation of some 1,130 post offices, 2,000 service outlets and more than 10,000 employees, this was no small test of the system.

Cronin reports that there were immediate results with efficiencies around mail route planning, working hours, sorting for efficient delivery etc., that allowed An Post to make the best of the resources available.

Labour and input for the system has reduced by 17%, while it has facilitated next day delivery rates going from 72% to in excess of 98%.

There are also significant savings when considering total cost of ownership. The dedicated Oracle infrastructure saw two ExaData boxes replace 20 traditional servers. Between licensing, hardware and operational considerations, the savings run to around €1.2 million per year. There are also predictive analytics capabilities now available to the users of the system and Cronin said that functions such as budget forecasting have improved dramatically.“

The information that is needed to run the business will be available quicker,” said Cronin. “It will transform the way we run our business.”

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