- High Performance
- Rapid Application Development
With over 80 stores and a 20-year record of business, Decor Heytens is one of the most popular chains of interior decorating stores in Europe. To ensure it remains successful, Heytens embarked on an aggressive plan to open 10 stores every year for the next five years. Obviously, such a course of action puts tremendous pressure on an enterprise's IT infrastructure to deliver robust and scalable applications. To that end, Heyten's IT department, managed by Xavier Demeuse, made the decision to redevelop its three custom applications with a graphical user interface. It also decided to transfer all databases to Caché, the post-relational database from InterSystems.
The events that took place during the redevelopment of its central stock management application exemplifies Heyten's experience surrounding the entire redevelopment project. "With our team of only three programmers we developed everything in-house using WinDev as the front-end and Caché as the database, with Caché Direct for Active X as the interface," said Demeuse.
Caché is well-known for its rapid development environment, but even so, Demeuse was pleasantly surprised at the short development period. "The underlying data structures were transferred very quickly," he said. "The NT server was configured in less than three hours. Each team member was able to work independently, still leaving enough time to test. This made the implementation very efficient."
Heyten's quickly discovered the benefits of the new Caché application. "Caché is really very advanced, in particular the user interface, and the new tools are a big advantage," said Demeuse. "For example, with the old system, it took an entire day to carry out a monthly overview of the rotation. Today, we need less than two hours thanks to the direct data access and the fast utilities featured in Caché."
The new Caché application allows Heytens to manage operations using new and more efficient business methods. "We developed new procedures that allow us to retrieve 450 records from different data structures at once. Before, we could only retrieve records from one data structure at a time. This makes a big difference when you have 250 million records. Besides that, the reports for the board of directors are much better with clear graphics and tables," said Demeuse.
"All information about the 8,000 products, the stock, orders and sales statistics are now bundled," continued Demeuse. "Thirty-five data structures can be opened at the same time in only one application screen. The software itself can give buying suggestions according to the given information. The enterprise works more cost-efficiently with this system because less stock is needed which means more available capital."
During testing Heytens has already learned that the combination of GUI with ActiveX and Caché Web technology will run much faster than the old DOS-application; even faster than Demeuse expected because he initially counted on a minimal loss of time by the usage of a graphical user interface. Demeuse is happy with the performance of his GUI-based Caché application, and he is equally impressed with the support he gets from InterSystems. "InterSystems gives me the type of personal service an IT manager can only dream about when using Oracle or Microsoft."