The Power of CAS

Rural Sourcing uses several technologies to bring the best products to our clients.
One of the most used technologies is the Accenture CAS System. Accenture CAS is the
leading integrated sales platform for the consumer goods industry. It provides companies
with the ability to streamline all of their day to day operations whether it be tracking inventory, managing customers, making payments, setting up promotions, or even keeping up with sales representative store visits. The CAS system uses four main tools, namely the CAS modeler, SQL Server Management Studio, Visual Studio 2010, and the CAS Application which uses Microsoft Silverlight.

The CAS Modeler is a graphical interface that simplifies the majority of the creation process, enabling developers to create UI Elements such as Tabs, Grids, and Groups without having to write any code. It is broken into several modules each having a specific area or usage.

The most prominent modules are Bpa, Clb, Prd, Prm, and Usr.

The Bpa module focuses on Customers and Contact Partners. This will include stores and the contacts connected to the store. The Clb module is used primarily for Collaboration and Visits. When a sales representative travels to a Customer, or Store, this module will be accessed. The Prd module is used for Product creation and inventory, and the Prm module is used for Promotions of the products in stores. Finally, the Usr module is used to keep up with all User accounts and logins.

Each module in the system will have its own set of CAS data types that are used to read and write from the database. The following image will give you a basic idea of how the system is set up for each module.

The basis for the CAS system is an Entity. These are essentially the definition of a table in the data base. From the Entity a Basic Data Object is created. This cdo is used to access one table in the database. Views can also be created, allowing the developer access to multiple tables in the database. Both Basic Data Objects and Views will
be used in conjunction with a Data Container which links the data to Overviews and Details. The Overviews and Details are the final step and are displayed in the application tab page.

SQL Server Management Studio
is used by the CAS System to store data, but it is also instrumental during development for accessing the database for testing purposes. It allows developers to see any new content they have added to the individual tables, or changes to values in the database. SQL can also be used in Stored Procedures and Server Processes. In these processes, a developer can access the database to select data from or update data from the
database.

Visual Studio 2010 is also a vital tool used by the CAS System. All of the development in the modeler is Save and Deployed into code. There are two types of code created by CAS. The first is, “core“ code, which for all intents is uneditable. The second type is “customizable” code. This type of code can have “Insertion Ranges” added to it. These ranges are the segments of code that can be customized.

The CAS Application uses Microsoft Silverlight to display what has been developed using the modeler and Visual Studio 2010. Depending on what roles a user contains, they will be able to access different UI Elements of the Application. Through these Tab Pages, Grids, and Groups along with other User Interface tools, the user can view or update data as the tab pages direct.

As developers at Rural Sourcing we work with several clients using this technology to create the best solution to their needs. We will delve into some of the individual CAS components in future blog updates

 

Daniel Comeaux
Programmer Analyst
Daniel Comeaux

Thoughts on Economist Special Report on Offshoring and Outsourcing

As you outline your IT services sourcing strategies for 2013 and beyond, there are some great takeaways that buyers and providers alike should take into consideration stemming from this article in the Economist. [Not to mention, they give a little plug to our domestic sourcing industry.] Below are a few takeaways and some thoughts on reshoring of IT services to the domestic sourcing space:

  • “In a study of job creation in America McKinsey found that workers for high-level IT support in the cheaper parts of the country cost less than in Brazil or eastern Europe and just 24% more than in India.”
  • Standard & Poor’s is cited in CIO magazine to say that they used to offshore much of their IT work, but now they want to send it no further than three hours from Manhatten.
  • A survey of outsourcing executives by HfS Research in Boston last summer found that America is seen as the world’s most desirable region for expanding IT and business-services centres in the next two years. India now comes second, despite its lower labour costs.

Speaking of lower labor costs, the following chart highlights this dramatic loss of India’s labor arbitrage. Further, if you use US IT salaries from teir 2 and 3 locations (where we locate our development centers), you find that the labor arbitrage is less than 5%.

This chart is definitely something to take into consideration when deciding the future of your IT service needs. With high attrition rates in offshore locations, resources need to be rehired and retrained with each one that turns over. This takes time away from your project efficiency, and TIME IS MONEY. Per the Economist, “In a study of job creation in America McKinsey found that workers for high-level IT support in the cheaper parts of the country cost less than in Brazil or eastern Europe and just 24% more than in India.” When budgets are tight, do you really have the flexibility to risk sending work offshore and spend double the amount of time to get it done as you would with a domestic sourcing partner like Rural Sourcing?

As a matter of fact, we have a case study with one of our clients who experienced just what was outlined above. When looking for other outsourcing options, they came across rural sourcing as a cost-effective alternative and have become one of the biggest advocates for the domestic sourcing industry. They pay us dollar-for-dollar the same per month as they did to an offshore provider, and not only that, but they get double the amount of work done with much rework. Now, that is something to write home about!

Here at Rural Sourcing, we obviously believe in the success of utilization onshore resources instead of or in conjunction with other IT outsourcing options. But we are curious, what are your pains? Have you looked at using a domestic sourcing partner? Are you just starting to explore sourcing strategies? Feel free to comment on this post and let us know! Let’s get the conversation going.

The Economist: Outsourcing and Offshoring Special Report

 

 

 

January 19, 2013 |   Special Report: Outsourcing and Offshoring

“… But now many companies are finding that they lost their connection with important business functions, says Mr Justice. At the same time the cost advantage that drew firms offshore in the first place is disappearing. Salaries for software engineers are going up rapidly and inflation is high. For IBM, says Bundeep Ranger, chief executive of IndusView, and advisory firm, the total cost of its employees in India used to be about 80% less than in America; now the gap is 30-40% and narrowing fast.”

Read the full article