Case Study: Global financial services organisation

Expert Thinking accelerates delivery and lowers risks for a global Financial Services organisation’s move to Azure Data Warehouse.

Requirements

Expert Thinking supported a global financial services firm in their migration from a legacy Oracle data warehouse to an Azure data platform. Key requirements for the organisation were:

  • Provide data platform strategy, technical design reviews, coding patterns for ETLs and platform integration support to the technical delivery teams.
  • Increase the confidence that the design approach would accelerated technical delivery, reduce delivery risk and enhanced integration with their new transactional systems.
  • Migrate away from their legacy on-premise Oracle data warehouse system, reviewing and driving change through the ETL, data modelling and porting platforms.

Critical success factors:

Replace systems

Align the new data warehouse with new transactional systems to ensure alignment across the business and reporting applications, and decommission the legacy Oracle system.

Data optimisation

Reduce the 650 reports created by the organisation – increase efficiency and data quality through better data modelling, elimination of waste and consistency of data.

Cloud move

Move to Azure cloud to align platform strategy within the wider organisation and reduce cost of service considerably.

Our solution

Working alongside the customer in a blended team we initially focused on the design of a new cloud data platform, understanding the core functionality of the legacy Oracle solution and defining key business and technical requirements. Once gathered the overall architecture was designed and presented to the customers Board for approval. We led the solution architecture and engineering, focusing on:

  • Forensic analysis of all of the reports, Excel spreadsheets and random outputs of the existing system highlighted about 650 reports in total were reduced. By analysing the business need it was determined that at least 75% of the reports could be eliminated, reducing cost, improving efficiency and increasing fidelity of business related analysis and reporting.
  • Platform strategy and architecture, service definition, cost considerations and technology strategy alignment, with a traditional Azure Data Lake, SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Data Factory, Azure Analysis Services and PowerBI/Excel for reporting being agreed.
  • Integration with the organisation’s existing SDLC, leveraging DevOps ways of working.
  • Moving away from SSIS to and Azure Data Factory approach for ETL configurations, optimising and curating the data from source into the Azure Data Lake.
  • ETL/ELT development support and coaching, defining best practice and associated “templates” so that the customer would be able to manage the environment post deployment.

Throughout the engineering of the solution we were able to help the customer define and refine data sources (critical for data lineage and PCI-DSS audit purposes).

The benefits

  • The number of core reports were reduced by 75% as part of the engineering and migration, significantly increasing efficiency within the organisation and improved report quality through reduced reporting duplication.
  • Accelerated the delivery of a fit-for-purpose Azure data services solution that was cost optimised, enabling legacy and expensive on-premise services to be decommissioned.
  • Reduced risks relating to data warehouse design, increasing confidence in the success of a complex migration from Oracle to Azure.
  • Increasing velocity of change, removing/reducing time spent on proof of concepts/pilots, and reducing the overall cost of development.

Highlights:

Data Quality

Resolved issues with duplicated and inaccurate data through improved control, data lineage and optimised design

Strategy Alignment

Aligned with the overall direction of he company to host all applications on Azure, removed legacy oracle services that were slow and costly.

Simplification

Massive reduction in wasted effort around reporting and cost of maintenance through a forensic analysis of the business needs and report design.

Expert Thinking has significantly contributed to our confidence in moving to the cloud by reviewing our approaches and design as well as providing technical input and practical support, helping focus us on areas of value, where it would be easy to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of options and information available in the cloud arena.

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