A complex challenge
An agile approach and the cloud-based Confluent platform, which is based on Apache Kafka, were chosen to ensure a quick launch. After the project was started by INTERSPORT Austria, DCCS developed a pilot version of the solution in an incredible short period of three months. First, the exchange of sales data between the cash register and the merchandise management system was tested at an INTERSPORT test register and, after successful testing, the solution was finalised and rolled out. This was followed by the interface to the loyalty programme, which went live after approx. four weeks. The third step involved DCCS setting up the connection of the financial accounting and adaptation to SAP FI. The integration of the rental systems was the last item on the agenda. “The challenge was to connect several systems that produce data in different formats within a short period of time using interfaces, including the new cash register system, but also rental systems such as Wintersteiger‘s. We almost ran out of time,” Mayr looks back. The approach was an event-driven data stream, whereby the platform prepares the different XML formats for the target systems and processes them in real time. An additional challenge was the complexity of the product master data supply system, which had to be converted to new data structures due to the new cash register system. After just six months and several test installations, the solution was rolled out to more than 200 cash registers and training in over 100 INTERSPORT shops began. “We first converted the smaller retailers with a low number of shops to the new system, followed by the larger retailers,” says Mayr.
Goal achieved in record time
Just ten months after project start, DCCS and INTERSPORT Austria finalised the connection of all systems. “The entire system landscape had to be set up anew. Previously, we had mapped the entire process via IBM i merchandise management and prepared the cash register data for merchandise management, the regular customer system and financial accounting. However, one essential aspect was missing: The linkage of sales data in real-time,” Mayr notes. The solution and central real-time data streaming platform Confluent now pulls the sales data from the cash register, online shop and rental service, converts the different data formats and forwards the information to the target systems in real time - and that includes the merchandise management system, the loyalty programme and the Customer App. In the opposite direction, the platform supplies the cash register system with product master data (item number, scan codes, prices) and vendor master. The platform thus provides an immediate overview of all transactions and sales channels.