Stein Mart, a large department store chain with 268 locations in the US, relies heavily on up-to-date data analysis and reporting for inventory management and promotional reviews. Unfortunately, the company’s data warehouse system, which was based on IBM DB2 and AS/400 data servers, had performance issues that often led to data reporting delays and cost the company thousands of dollars a month in hardware, licensing, and maintenance.

In order to lower cost and speed up turnaround time on their critical reports, Stein Mart turned to a new Microsoft solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise database software, SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services, and SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse. The solution also includes Excel Services in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

As a result of the new solution, weekly Stein Mart sales reports are processed in less than 3 hours, compared to 14 hours with the previous system. “Querying data is much faster than before with the new solution based on SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse,” Ilan Wajsman, Data Systems Manager at Stein Mart. “Now, our executives can access the latest business data on time.”

Additionally, Stein Mart now has the ability to pull transactional data and analyze its business from end to end. Using SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services, for instance, the company can perform in-depth business analysis of its transactional database. “With SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, we can look at our entire transaction history and do market analysis and business forecasting, which we could not do previously.  This technology gives us the ability to be more fact-based as a company,” says Wajsman. “We can make business decisions based on demonstrated sales history.”

By implementing the Microsoft solution, Stein Mart was also able to consolidate its IT costs, contributing to a monthly savings of $50,000 in hardware leasing and maintenance costs.

To read more about Stein Mart’s solution, visit the case study here or watch the video at: http://www.microsoft.com/servers/missioncritical/CIOBlogs.aspx