Rexel Supplies an Omni-channel Customer Experience
Broad information accessibility and an industrialized approach
"Rexel's growth, which is based on acquisition, quickly translated into a key issue for our information systems," says Claudio Borlo, chief information officer for southern Europe. "We were subjected to a surge of point-to-point connections between highly heterogeneous environments, from IBM AS /400 to Linux platforms.
"Should all entities use one ERP, or should each group use its own best of breed applications? We felt that to remain agile, it was more effective to take the second route. At the same time, to seize new growth opportunities, as well as compete, the group needed to accelerate its multichannel strategy."
Rexel's environment was complex in both the variety of its channels and data volumes. On the channel side, France interacts with its customers through agencies, a mobile sales force, a merchant website, mobile applications, an electronic data interchange (EDI) system, and 37 integrated call centers. All must share the same customer knowledge regardless of the history of the previous contact points—and the company was committed to making its 35,000 references broadly available to these channels.
"We decided to develop an integration architecture that would be sufficiently robust to become the backbone of our information system," says Mr. Borlo.
To manage the heterogeneity, as well as handle heavy data loads, Rexel selected the TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks™ integration platform in 2008. "From development to operations, we quickly realized the benefits of using pivot formats and interfaces," says Mr. Borlo. "The first project was sufficiently conclusive to lead to a wider deployment in 2010, in Germany, Spain, Belgium, Finland, and Italy—and to support substantial developments in France."
Open, Accessible Information
Rexel began a digital transformation that led to increased openness of the information system. "We distinguished several large islands within our information system," says Borlo. "Transactional systems (sales, procurement, finance, and stock); cognitive systems (business intelligence, data visualization, and optimization); channel configuration of offers and web; and of course, references (products, suppliers, customers, and organizations). The TIBCO integration platform was used to orchestrate exchanges between these different islands to put the client at the heart of the system.
"We now classify services into two main categories. Those that interact with our own resources, such as our digital solutions and applications for installers, and those that interact with external systems, for example credit and risk scoring.” These operations have been industrialized on the integration platform.
"In total, nearly 400 interfaces are orchestrated through TIBCO's solution and generate close to 700,000 daily calls," notes Arnaud Hamel, urban planner in charge of integration architecture.
Improved Cost Control
"We have implemented a full service-oriented architecture and have re-engineered our methods accordingly," says Mr. Hamel. "Today, for example, depending on the complexity of the technical base, we know how to assess the cost of developing a new web service."
"Almost everything goes through the TIBCO integration platform, which makes it accessible," says Mr. Borlo. "We can now easily consider adding new services that will further support the digital transformation of the group."