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SQL Server Blog


Here on the SQL Server Blog, we spend a lot of time talking about the features and technical “how to” behind our products. The only thing we love more than getting into the details of our products is sharing real-world examples of how they help our customers achieve business goals. There’s been a few great examples of this recently, as customers like The Charles Machine Works, Holland America Line and Retail Solutions Inc. made the switch to SQL Server from competitors Oracle and SAP.

Ditch_WitchBeing able to get to data faster can give businesses an edge in today’s fast paced, competitive environment. The Charles Machine Works (CMW), a manufacturer of underground construction equipment based in Oklahoma, turned to SQL Server in order to improve business intelligence reporting and speed access to data from its existing SAP architecture. Working with data was so difficult that most employees relied on a lone data warehouse analyst to generate reports, and waited hours – or days – for information, slowing the pace of business. Based on both cost savings and ease of use, CMW switched to a solution based on SQL Server. For about 25% of what SAP Business Objects and SAP HANA would have cost, the SQL Server solution provides more employees with access to accelerated BI analysis, meaning access to real-time data and the ability to make faster, better business decisions.

Holland_America_LineBetter insights into customer behavior can be used to improve customer service. Cruise-ship company Holland America Line, based in Washington, uses information from their BI system to identify best practices onboard the ship that contribute to increased revenue and improved customer experience. Unfortunately, their Oracle BI system was so difficult to use, only a handful of analysts used the software to get data, which could vary between ships and shore staff. In order to encourage broader BI use and create a way for groups to collaborate, Holland America Line decided to switch to SQL Server 2012. Since implementing the new solution, Holland America Line has tripled employee BI use, empowered its business users to discover insights about passenger behavior, and as a result of this information, make decisions about onboard programs and offerings to enhance passengers’ experience.

Retail_Solutions_IncHaving the right technology to manage, analyze and scale to meet demanding data needs can improve a company’s bottom line. The California-based Retail Solutions Inc. provides software-as-a-service solutions for more than 500 consumer product goods suppliers and 70 retailers worldwide, with the goal of helping customers accurately forecast product supply and consumer demand, as well as evaluate supply-chain efficiency. In order to better manage 100 TB of core data as well as the 1.5 billion records it imports daily, Retail Solutions replaced its Oracle platform with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. Both Retail Solutions and its customers are seeing the benefits of the switch: Customers are able to boost sales by up to 4% with the new analytics capabilities, resulting in millions of dollars in ROI, and the solution’s scalability has allowed Retail Solutions to support its rapid growth (40% annually) in recent years.

For more information on how The Charles Machine Works, Holland America Line and Retail Solutions are using SQL Server, read the full case studies (linked). And, check out the business intelligence and big data pages to learn more about Microsoft’s solutions.