Expert Thinking successfully migrates a leading UK lender to a new Azure data services solution. Working with the customer, we designed and implemented a secure, powerful and cost-optimised Azure data platform and analytics solution which eliminated 400 reports and delivered a step-change in data quality, performance, stability and capability. Not only did this significantly reduce risk, it improved customer engagement and lowered costs by ~25%.
PROBLEM & IMPACT
Our customer had built an on-premise solution using MySQL and several reporting platforms (resulting in over 650 separate reports) that severely impacted the business’s ability to make well informed, timely decisions. Specific problems included:
- Issues with data quality and lack of error handling caused frequent service outages and fixed reporting schedules regularly missed.
- Delays and lack of confidence when presenting data to internal and external consumers.
- Significant cost and effort required to maintain the on-premise system due to its complexity and frequent production outages.
- Technical debt (technology, ETLs, data model and report design) preventing the extension of the current system and the introduction of new data sources to support the business.
Our customer recognised the need for a new ‘data warehouse’ to enable their continued growth, resolving the core issues and aligning to their strategic Azure cloud strategy, quickly and at a competitive price.
“Expert Thinking quickly gained a clear understanding of our aims and desires; then provided clear, practical and targeted guidance.”
Expert Thinking delivered the end-to-end solution from the ground up, working closely with key IT and business stakeholders from solution architecture through to data migration.
The solution was built on Azure data services (Azure Data Factory, Azure SQL Database, Azure Data Lake, Azure Monitoring, Key Vault and ADFS, and Splunk). Key activities included:
- Developing a pilot instance on Azure to test the solution architecture and agree on the technical direction with the key IT stakeholders.
- Analysing their old data warehouse (5+TBs of structured and unstructured data, 650+ tables and seven key source data systems). Using Kimball we built an optimised set of data structures based on key business stakeholder needs.
- Leading a blended team of Expert Thinking and customer engineers to build the end-to-end solution from ingestion through to reporting, security and operational monitoring.
- Working with the customer to review and optimise their reporting engines, removing 400+ redundant reports, ensuring warehouse and reports were aligned, tested and delivered.
- Pipeline integration, development of orchestration assets and integration with Azure DevOps (JSON, PowerShell and ARM templates).
- Defining a test framework as part of the build process to ensure code quality, system configuration and security compliance as part of code development and deployment.
- Migrating 5+TBs across from the old data warehouse, working with the customer SMEs to ensure data quality errors were eliminated or “handled” within the new data warehouse.
We successfully delivered a new Azure data services solution that:
- Reduced the number of reports generated by 85%.
- Decommissioned two reporting tools – reducing both complexity and costs.
- Reduced cost of service by ~25% (optimised licensing, migration to Azure, and lower cost of support).
- Improved data quality to comply with internal and external standards.
- Optimised the data model reducing complexity – new data sources can now be easily integrated.
- Incorporated new business reporting and analytics integration – flexible, fast and easy to deliver on-going change.
“Working with Expert Thinking has proved to be of major value and has helped drive our cloud adoption at pace.”