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The Best of Both Worlds


Location, location, location. That's the selling mantra of the real-estate industry, the notion being that the location of a piece of property is often more important than the condition. Other industries may have to put a bit more muscle into their marketing and advertising efforts to sell their services or products. Catching customer attention with marketing campaigns is always a good thing and often generates positive customer feedback.

But successful marketing doesn't employ a scattershot philosophy. Rather, it's carefully targeted to specific customer needs and populations. After all, a $500-a-night five-star hotel should market to those who can drop $500 a night for a room and $200 for a two-person meal without missing a beat.

Hence the need for organizations such as Epsilon, "a marketing services organization," as Robert Fabrizio, Epsilon vice president of IT, puts it. As such, the company helps its clients with squarely targeted marketing communications, marketing analytics, marketing technology and marketing production. Part of this marketing mandate is to maintain marketing databases on behalf of its clients. As the company discovered, however, it's one thing to maintain the database, but quite another to ensure fast, reliable access and response times.

To provide these necessary components of its clients' quickly shifting marketing requirements, Epsilon took it upon itself to rebuild its IT environment to include IBM* eServer pSeries* servers and IBM TotalStorage* technology, creating a new and dramatic approach that replaced a solution based on aging technology. Epsilon is now better equipped to supply marketing strategies for its clients.

Data at Their Fingertips

Epsilon, which has principal offices in Wakefield, Mass.; Irving, Texas; Arlington, Va.; and Earth City, Mo., is no minor player in the integrated-marketing arena. A small sampling of its clients includes Hilton Hotels, KeyBank and the National Geographic Society, as well as "a number of big names in the not-for-profit sector," Fabrizio notes. Altogether, it has around 80 to 85 named clients (although not all of them use Epsilon's marketing technology, preferring instead to work with the company to promote themselves using more traditional methods.)

Clients who take advantage of Epsilon's marketing technologies are currently supported by a rock-solid IT environment that includes, among other solutions close to 20 pSeries 650 servers, a p670 server, around 35 RS/6000* servers and two TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server* (ESS) Model 800 servers (as well as PC-based servers and some older Sun* systems). In the company's pSeries realm, the p670 acts as a data-dump server, as Fabrizio explains: "The raw data comes in from our clients and is routed to the p670. We then perform the ETL (extract, transfer, load) functions, including merge/purge, address standardization, change-of-address processing and other data-engineering services as required."

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.


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