Openness helps win Oracle NZ Post warehouse deal

Oracle cites its adherence to open-source standards at one of the advantages that won it a contract of more than $1m to provide a data warehouse to New Zealand Post.

Oracle cites its adherence to open-source standards at one of the advantages that won it a contract of more than $1m to provide a data warehouse to New Zealand Post.

The company adheres to the data warehouse standard defined by the Object Management Group (OMG), the source-code of which is fully open, says Oracle technology manager Carol Lee Davidson.

Post has bought Oracle’s 9i Database, 9i Application Server and Warehouse Builder, to assist it in getting a fuller picture of the activity of its customers across various areas of the enterprise. Davidson says Oracle will handle the whole process, starting with the ETL (extract, transform and load) routines to bring data from the databases to the warehouse, and ending with business analysis tools allowing warehouse data to be presented quickly as useful information.

Such analysis will allow Post to be “more relevant to customers by better understanding their needs and behaviours”, says Post’s national marketing manager Graham Smith.

“Valuable intelligence gained by consolidating marketing, sales and billing information will be used to generate highly targeted marketing campaigns that reflect the customer's true value to the entire company and not just to a particular business unit,” he says.

Previously such information was drawn together in an unstructured and ad hoc way, using basic tools such as Access databases, says Post CIO Nigel Prince. This is Post’s first venture into data warehousing.

Oracle faced competition from Teradata and Microsoft for the contract, which Prince says is valued at “seven figures but not multiple millions of dollars”. Oracle, he says, scored on meeting a combination of NZ Post’s objectives, from both the functionality and total cost of ownership point of view.

The data warehouse is expected to be up and running by May this year. It will be used first to consolidate data from the marketing databases of Post’s letters" business unit.

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