Choosing Menlo Technologies
- Renesas, Santa Clara, CA
CLIENT AT A GLANCE
Renesas Electronics America (REA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corporation. The Japan-based semiconductor manufacturer is the world’s largest manufacturer of microcontroller and the second largest manufacturer of application processors.
BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL CHALLENGES
REA had an on-premises, legacy integration system that required a tedious manual process of custom coding by an on-site expert which was costly and unnecessarily complicated. REA had 27 racks of servers that had accumulated through years of mergers and acquisitions, and chose to move to the cloud rather than continuing to manage a data center when the company relocated to Las Vegas.
REA had several cloud-based and on-premises applications, systems and files that it needed to integrate. The company also had two instances of SAP—both for the headquarters and for the U.S. subsidiary—that contained a lot of data. But this data needed transformations and integration to help with revenue forecasting to support the nuances of the local company.
During the evaluation stage, starting with a simple proof of concept, REA used the Dell Boomi AtomSphere integration platform as a service (iPaaS) to integrate data from its U.S.-based HRIS system to Japan each day into the SAP system and global Directory Management systems. REA was able to complete the POC by writing 2-3 processes. Dell Boomi’s iPaaS “was a more elegant, easier to use, and I like the security model,” said the IT Director. Having the ability to locate an Atom on premise made it easier to sell a cloud-based strategy to other areas of the organization.
For implementation, Renesas turned to system integrator Menlo Technologies. “Menlo Technologies has been instrumental in helping us with the Dell Boomi implementation,” said the Renesas team, “Menlo is our first and only partner and their blended model of on-shore and off-shore support works well.”
Since REA’s move to the cloud, the company has:
- Eliminated the need for 2.5 internal resources to integrate using the custom legacy applications to one offshore resource.
- Reduced costs by about 89 percent compared to what they previously spent on maintenance, reporting, hardware and on-site support
- Experienced better service.
REA now boasts 57 process flows for ERP alone. They also have the capability to quickly conduct a proof of concept. A major customer, for example, required serialized data from the SAP system. Without Boomi, this would have been a manual process, but with Boomi SEA built production processes, and was able to fully test and release to production in less than one month.
“Dell Boomi AtomSphere is one of the best tools I’ve seen, and Menlo’s been a great partner to help us.”
- mPower, San Francisco, CA
Menlo Technologies architected and developed scalable application that would allow financial content management for mutual fund analysis and profiling.
Technology used: Java, J2EE, BEA WebLogic, Apache and Oracle 8i running on Sun Solaris.
Case Study: mPower
mPower blazed the trail of affordable, objective online investment advice when it was founded in 1995 (as 401k Forum). And today, the company remains the leading provider of online advice for defined contribution plan participants.
mPower does not manage money or sell financial products. Rather, the company provides investors with direct, actionable answers to their most pressing questions through easy-to-understand advice and comprehensive education. This Institutional-quality retirement savings and investment advice is specific to each individual’s financial situation and retirement goals and is available through customized web pages.
Our Approach to Global Delivery is
mPower knows very well how to acquire, analyze, and effectively present key financial information. The company’s fast growing client list certainly attests to its financial acumen. The new challenge was dealing with the sheer volume of data that needed to be captured, validated, organized, reported on, and distributed via customized web pages. The long-term solution required restructuring the entire information storage and web publishing processes.
The long-term solution was not only to implement an automated web distribution system, but also to build this new publishing system on top of an information foundation that could expand as mPower increased its service offerings – a scalable architecture.
Menlo Technologies’s mission was to design that scalable information architecture and develop reliable applications to streamline the data management process and automate the web delivery mechanisms.
Menlo Technologies’s Project Planning Methodology
Working closely with mPower’s senior management and business and technical staff, Menlo Technologies executed a disciplined methodology to gain a thorough understanding of mPower’s data entry and web publication processes and needs. Using that knowledge, Menlo Technologies implemented a comprehensive and scalable data system and developed an Intranet-based data entry application that effectively supports data capture, validation, and reporting.
Building upon this reliable information foundation, Menlo Technologies developed applications that analyze and consolidate the masses of data, and distribute the results as customized web pages.
The technical environment includes Apache Web Server, BEA WebLogic Application Server, and Oracle 8i running on a Sun platform.
By streamlining, automating, and integrating the information entry and distribution processes, mPower has been able to significantly reduce errors, decrease staffing support requirements, and shorten the time spent on the mechanics of delivering information to its customers. Less time on mechanics allows mPower to spend more time on its core competencies in financial analysis.
- Matson Navigation Company, San Francisco, CA.
Menlo Technologies architected and deployed Matson’s e-business application, “Virtual Customer Service Center”.
Technology used: Java, J2EE, BEA WebLogic and JAM middleware, iPlanet and Oracle 8i running on Sun Solaris.
Case Study: Matson
Matson Navigation Company, doing over $700 million in revenue, is the principal carrier of containerized cargo and automobiles between the U.S. Pacific Coast and Hawaii, the Hawaiian neighbor islands, the Mid-Pacific islands and Guam-Micronesia. The company pioneered both containerization and roll-on, roll-off intermodal freight service in the Pacific Coast-Hawaii trade, and has a lengthy list of maritime “firsts” in over a century of Pacific shipping.
Matson Navigation customer support activities are provided through a state of the art Customer Support Center, which relies on a set of legacy mainframe applications that provide booking, shipment, billing and reporting functions.
Matson wished to web-enable its Customer Support Center functions to allow its customers to perform their own booking operations, monitor the status of their own shipping and billing transactions, and free their Customer Service Reps to focus on more complex activities for their customers. Menlo Technologies was engaged to develop a Virtual Customer Support Center (VCSC) application for this purpose. On a strategic level, the VCSC project was to also create a foundation upon which Matson’s business model could be extended to the web.
Menlo Technologies worked with Matson senior management to define a strategy for branding and positioning itself on the web. Menlo Technologies developed a feature-rich VCSC application from this knowledge.
The software was written exclusively in Java, interacting with a local Oracle database, and was designed to conform to J2EE standards.
Matson’s legacy mainframe systems were designed to remain the Systems of Record. This meant that a three-tiered architecture was required for implementation of the VCSC application – a mainframe component, a server component, and a middleware layer to enable them to interact. Audit and security considerations were an important part of this architecture. The technical environment consisted of iPlanet messaging software, WebLogic server software from BEA, the XCOM protocol for data transport and the Java Adaptor for the Mainframe (JAM) for data interfaces. The application also integrated third party “web collaboration” software from Avaya (formerly Lucent).
Matson Navigation and Menlo Technologies partnered to successfully move Matson from a closed, mainframe-only world to the Internet. In the process, Matson established a world-class web presence, customers became more involved and empowered, and a scalable technical infrastructure was established for Matson to extend its services – and its presence – on the web.
Matson senior management has been quoted as saying “the site is fast and looks really clean. It has a workman-like feel and is not excessive or cluttered in its use of graphics. And the Flash Demo helps a lot – even the sales organization is learning from it.” Quote from a senior CSR: “We’re backlogged in processing user registrations (via the web) for additional services. We got a lot more registrations than we expected.”
Menlo Technologies Implemented and Customized Oracle Enterprise Data Warehousing (EDW) on ERP – Oracle Applications 11i at Formfactor.
Oracle Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB), Oracle Discoverer, and Oracle 8i on Sun Solaris.
Case Study: FormFactor
FormFactor, Inc. was founded in 1993 with the vision of revolutionizing semiconductor test and electronic system packaging and assembly. FormFactor’s MicrospringTM contact technology solves fundamental problems limiting the performance and manufacturability of electronic products. The Microspring contact enables semiconductor and system manufacturers to reduce the cost of test and to produce high performance systems at a lower cost. FormFactor Microspring contact interconnect solutions are used in semiconductor wafer test, Chip Scale Packaging (CSP’s), and chip sockets. In just four years, FormFactor’s vision has gathered over $20 million in funding and an impressive list of customers in the electronics industry.
Oracle Applications 11i is in place with all the functional modules implemented. Information is abundant. But it is still a great task to answer management questions – “What are the sales across the periods?”, “Revenues compared to the last year?”, “Backlogs status?”, “Product wise demand?”, “Who’s the best customer in terms of placing the orders?”, “Who’s the best customer in terms of revenues?”, “Which sales person is efficient across seasons?”, “Forecast vs. Actual achievements?”, etc. It is still a big list of unanswered puzzles.
FormFactor wanted to implement state-of-art Oracle e-Business Intelligence on the top of Oracle Applications 11i. Oracle Enterprise Data Warehouse has been the choice to allow their Middle and Top management instant workbook access to all their supply chain and receivables logistics. Menlo Technologies’s mission was to implement warehousing architecture and customize the reporting by providing much more flexibility in dimensional representation of FormFactor’s facts.
Menlo Technologies followed well-designed project plan to implement and customize Oracle Enterprise Data Warehousing module in accordance with Oracle Warehouse builder and Oracle Discoverer in CRP, UAT and Production environments of existing Oracle Applications. Defined source and target systems to build star schema architecture and mapped key & descriptive flexfields and user defined dimension entities into a warehouse builder, which were then reflected in Discoverer workbooks.
Developed multidimensional Discoverer workbooks to present FormFactor’s operational logic in deriving Bookings, Backlogs, Net sales and Forecasts, and provided flexibility in viewing the data across Time, Region, Product, Order, and Customer Dimensions. The reports are also deployed on the Web, so that management has access to the latest information from anywhere in the world.
By streamlining, automating, and integrating the Oracle Applications data and processes into EDW, FormFactor has been able to derive accurate Bookings and Revenue information across periods in the desired sort and dimensions. The data source and report definitions are accurate, and because they tie closely with out-of-the-box Oracle ERP, this executive information system requires fewer staff to maintain and support and has shortened the time required on the mechanics of delivering information to its analysts and top management.
What our clients are saying:
Menlo’s offshore blend is powerful. And they are good at this. Know how to do it. They gave me confidence they could do it right.” Gray Drohan, VP IT
“Prior to selecting Menlo, we focused on finding a firm with a U.S. presence – particularly in the Bay Area with access to V.C. dollars in their network. The India talent was on par with what we were looking for to work with our technology stack.”
Habni Samaan, CEO
“The Menlo team, particularly Phani, Kalyan and Venkat are an absolute joy to work with”
Doug Hubbard, Senior Software Architect
“I wanted to express how happy I am with the project thus far. I’ve been impressed with the efficiency of the systems and communication. The guys in India are quite good!”
Bob McCrae, CTO
“Menlo Technologies is our first and only partner, and has been instrumental in helping us with our Dell Boomi implementation. Their blended model of on-shore and off-shore support works well for us.”
“I absolutely love working with your team. When we showed the app to our executive team, they were totally knocked out… they are stoked… think it looks great… they are just loving it”
Joe Fabris, Founder