The Automation Center of Excellence: JAMS and GoAnywhere at DXLG
Destination XL Group, Inc. (DXLG) is the world’s leading omni-channel specialty retailer of men’s big and tall clothing and footwear, with an incredible selection of private label brands as well as current styles from over 100 top brands including Polo Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Nautica. DXLG also offers exclusive size ranges from Reebok, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste and others. DXLG operates more than 300 retail and outlet stores with approximately 3,000 employees across the United States, Canada, and England. DXLG is a NASDAQ listed company, with nearly $500 million in revenue.
In the late 2000s, DXLG was using Ecometry (JDA Direct Commerce) on HP 3000 as their retail and supply chain solution, relying on a combination of HP 3000’s batch processing equivalent and a homegrown file transfer tool to complete order processing.
DXLG had been using Ecometry on HP 3000 since the 1990s, but there was a problem on the horizon. HP decided to sunset the HP3000. Ecometry decided to drop HP 3000 support in favor of Windows, which meant that DXLG and hundreds of other Ecometry customers had a choice to make – drop the software, or move from HP 3000 to Windows. DXLG made the choice to keep Ecometry and migrate their retail operations from HP 3000 to Windows. Frank Girard, Ecometry Project Leader, needed to find a job scheduler with Windows support that could mirror current processing, tie into file transfers, and boast a robust feature set to grow with the company.
At the same time, DXLG was dealing with an all-too-common problem – the requirements for their homegrown file transfer tool had outpaced their ability to support it. “We started out with simple file transfers,” said Frank. “Then it was, ‘Oh, we also want to be able to submit a process to take action on what was sent, and then send emails out’. Anything new, we’d have to program, develop, test, and implement. It started out only being a file transfer tool, not all these extra little tagalongs. We had issues keeping it up to date.” DXLG needed a secure, feature-rich managed file transfer solution that would keep pace with the speed of e-commerce.
DXLG evaluated a number of file transfer products to replace the homegrown tool that had been eating up development time. The team chose GoAnywhere MFT, and hit the ground running. Several months after purchasing GoAnywhere, DXLG was able to turn off its homegrown file transfer tool.
On the job scheduling front, Frank’s team evaluated multiple job schedulers, but nothing compared to JAMS. “I liked the interface, I liked the way it was easily understandable and configurable. There were 3 we looked at – JAMS won out.”
DXLG’s workflows involved processing and moving files between Windows, AS400 systems, and third-party vendors / applications. To process orders, cancellations, and return confirmations, files created or processed by a JAMS job would be dropped into folders where a GoAnywhere file trigger was configured, and GoAnywhere would transfer the files.
Frank’s team benefitted from continuous, customer-focused enhancements to JAMS and GoAnywhere. “I like the progression,” Frank noted. “Once we got the API for GoAnywhere MFT, all projects were called using that. Now JAMS runs the process to create the files, triggers GoAnywhere to pick up the files, and when they’re processed in the order management systems, we take the resulting ASN’s or ship confirmations and send that back to the vendor.” With JAMS calling GoAnywhere, the entire transaction now takes place in a single, monitored round-trip process.
With JAMS and GoAnywhere, DXLG have effective methods to meet security and regulatory requirements. “We only allow external vendors to come into our GoAnywhere Services server,” Frank noted. “GoAnywhere Director can then go out to that machine and pick up files, and also place files there for third party vendors to pick up.” Process submit permissions and access to financial processes are also points of interest at DXLG. “The JAMS jobs are set up on a schedule, and the only people who can submit jobs are the people in IT,” said Frank. “Financials? Only a certain group can get to that. We’ve got a lot of controls in place, firewall rules. Even though I might be able to get on one of the production servers, I can’t transfer a file from my desktop to that, because my desktop doesn’t have permissions. We have it set up so that it’s part of our firewall.”
Whenever he needs it, Frank knows the experts in JAMS and GoAnywhere support are ready to help. “With both products, we’ve had excellent support. I did one of the major upgrades. When I did the upgrade, I was talking to JAMS support and GoAnywhere support, and that went well, so kudos. It was a good experience.”
The teams at DXLG get notified when any job or transfer needs attention. “We have JAMS alerts set up to come out if the job fails, if it takes too long, and if it’s a short run,” said Frank. “JAMS e-mails the primary on-call phone as well as the group, and then we look into it from there. In the GoAnywhere projects we’ve created, we set up an error routine, and if there is a problem, it notifies the team.”
Leveraging API commands to call GoAnywhere from JAMS has given the team unrivaled scheduling capabilities. “With JAMS, we can set up a master schedule. If we want to trigger jobs, we can trigger them anytime we want,” Frank noted. “If we needed to schedule file transfers, we have the ability to schedule them ahead of time in the JAMS interface.”
For DXLG, JAMS and GoAnywhere together have created a secure, reliable system where file transfers are integrated into larger business processes that run under the conditions Frank’s team needs them to. Together, JAMS and GoAnywhere make the foundation for any organization’s Automation Center of Excellence.