Fresh Retail Data, Fast Retail Decisions – JAMS Automation at SharkNinja
SharkNinja is the maker of class-leading Shark® vacuums and steam mops, and the innovative line of Ninja® kitchen appliances. Shark® and Ninja® are two of several house-care brands developed by SharkNinja Operating LLC, a pioneer in small household appliances and cleaning solutions that fit the lifestyles of busy people.
The company’s products are widely distributed through major big-box retailers and specialty stores, as well as through its websites.
Uptime and on-time refreshes are critical considering the speed of retail business.
“We are responsible for all the company’s applications; therefore we must ensure application uptime and on-time data updates,” said Scott Harris, VP Global Applications. The business had previously depended on Windows Task Scheduler and a custom scheduling engine to automate an array of critical IT processes, including:
- QlikView refreshes
- SQL imports and exports
- MongoDB imports and exports
- ERP data refreshes
- SharePoint refreshes and API calls
The original scheduling configuration had limited functionality and was often unstable. Turnover among developers had caused several periods of disruption. “Finding the root cause of issues often pulled us off high-priority tasks as we needed to build queries to determine which services and processes were running or not running. The critical information we needed was dispersed across many servers, instances, and files.”
SharkNinja evaluated several scheduling systems, including Cisco’s Tidal and BMC’s Control-M. Neither system could meet SharkNinja’s requirements for rapid implementation and a robust, out-of-the-box feature set.
Harris and his team chose JAMS above the entrenched alternatives. “JAMS provides our team with a single pane of glass, that we can use to monitor every data refresh, ETL process, import, and export across our entire IT infrastructure. With JAMS, it’s easy to visualize your job landscapes.”
Since its implementation in July of 2016, SharkNinja has leveraged JAMS to run jobs for the clear majority of its applications. Powerful job triggers and file watchers have replaced numerous legacy processes that once required the IT team to manually move files and kick off refreshes. SharkNinja has also benefited from PowerShell support included in JAMS. Leveraging custom cmdlets, it has gained the ability to move files per custom rules, and to kick off reports in real time.
SharkNinja now delivers critical information to business users faster than ever before, having gained the ability to combine jobs to run together and, where necessary, in parallel.
Following the initial setup of jobs by the company’s ETL team, JAMS has since been made available to nearly all of its application teams.
“It has made my role simpler in the fact that the visibility to all our scheduled jobs is at our fingertips and we no longer need to query a database to find out what is running or when a job is running next,” says Application Support Specialist Julian Governale. “JAMS has also made troubleshooting easier for all of us with their integrated logs files which will pinpoint errors and allow for quick resolution and less time with stale data in the system.”
Application Support Engineer, Robert Marhefka points out, “JAMS has allowed us to easily promote jobs and setups through our environments. We had a very good experience converting SQL Server Agent jobs to JAMS jobs.”
Associates throughout the company have been able to easily adopt JAMS for their own sets of critical processes. Harris noted that users throughout the company benefit from scheduled jobs. Organized access to the monitor and logs have helped applications teams significantly reduce troubleshooting time. The reduction in downtime at various points has improved overall application availability, as well as confidence in jobs’ output.
“Their ability to rapidly respond to and take ownership of any help requests we’ve issued has been outstanding,” said Marhefka. Governale added “I have never had a question not answered and most questions are answered with in 20-30 minutes of submission. The questions we have submitted have ranged from no brainers to head scratchers and in nearly all scenarios, the MVP support team has been able to resolve it via email. For the few issues requiring deeper analysis, we’ve worked directly with their engineering team, which has always helped us reach a resolution. Ninety percent of our issues are resolved within the first correspondence.”