A monumental upgrade

How Bic Camera increased data reporting times by 100x
by Tomoko Matsunaga
3-minute read
A lineup of cameras and accessories in a retail store

A few years ago, Bic Camera Inc., a large electronics and appliance retailer in Japan, built an integrated information infrastructure that has supported a wide array of analytical tasks for the company.

That infrastructure was based largely on IBM PureData® for Analytics, powered by IBM® Netezza® technology, and it promoted data utilization in all aspects of the business, from the front line to the administrative department. But over time, processing capacity became insufficient — and noticeable.

Because of aging hardware, growing numbers of users and exploding volumes of data, Bic Camera was experiencing delays in its analytics and reporting at peak times — especially at the beginning of weeks and months and at the end of the month, when system access was concentrated.

In April 2019, as support for the system’s underlying hardware neared expiration, the company began to examine new solutions.

A variety of products in a retail store in Japan

Reduced batch time by

93%

from 210 minutes to 15 minutes

System response times improved

100x

for some tasks and requests

The performance issues that have prevented us from making prompt decisions in the field have been immediately resolved. In order to maximize the power of the Netezza Performance Server, we are planning to proceed to a larger-scale data utilization and more advanced data analysis.
Yasuhiro Ishimura
Manager, Infrastructure Group, System Section, Bic Camera Inc.
A display of cameras in a Japanese retail store
Finding the right fit

Initially, Bic Camera examined a data warehouse service on the cloud. However, the company found that the service had a different architecture than that of the IBM PureData System for Analytics, and the data migration would be time-consuming and costly.

So the company focused on the IBM Netezza Performance Server, which has an architecture that is 100% compatible with the IBM PureData System for Analytics, and decided to adopt it after ensuring that the migration cost and time would be substantially reduced.

Bic Camera ordered the Netezza Performance Server from IBM in March 2020. With the spread of COVID-19, all communication among involved staff occurred online. However, the project proceeded with almost no trouble, and the new data warehouse was fully deployed and running by the end of June, just as scheduled.

Dramatic improvements in real time

Almost immediately, Bic Camera’s integrated information infrastructure showed dramatic performance improvements. For example, batch processing times for inventory valuation and tabulation tasks fell substantially, from 210 minutes to just 15 minutes — a 93% reduction. Throughput of processing business intelligence (BI) reports increased by 150%, and the speed of response times increased by more than 100 times at their peak, or 10 times faster on average.

Bic Camera is planning to gradually incorporate AI into its data analysis with the IBM Cloud Pak® for Data system. It is also interested in the seamless migration from on premises to the cloud using the Netezza on Cloud solution in the future.

Bic Camera will continue to pursue the evolution and development of its integrated information infrastructure as it continues to respond to the changing business needs for data.

Bic Camera logo
About Bic Camera, Inc.

Bic CameraExternal Link was established in May 1978 as a sales company for cameras and related products. Currently, in addition to urban, large format stores, Bic Camera is developing various store formats such as select-type specialty stores and non-home appliance specialty stores. Bic Camera is also striving to strengthen its online shopping business. Electronics stores Kojima Co., Ltd. and Sofmap Co., Ltd. are also under the group’s umbrella.

Solution components
Bic Camera logo
About Bic Camera, Inc.

Bic CameraExternal Link was established in May 1978 as a sales company for cameras and related products. Currently, in addition to urban, large format stores, Bic Camera is developing various store formats such as select-type specialty stores and non-home appliance specialty stores. Bic Camera is also striving to strengthen its online shopping business. Electronics stores Kojima Co., Ltd. and Sofmap Co., Ltd. are also under the group’s umbrella.

Solution components