Here is the latest article in the eWEEK feature series called IT Science, in which we look at what actually happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.
Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.
These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them are success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.
Today’s Topic: Finding a Controllable Way to Access, Analyze Large Data Volumes
Name the problem to be solved: Pandora (the jewelry collectibles company, not the cloud-based music service provider) has made a significant mark creating high-quality, collectible pieces that customers can afford. Its successful business has grown from a single concept shop to nearly 5,000 stores in more than 100 countries. Given this rapid growth, the company was finding it challenging to cohesively manage data from numerous departments, data sources and multiple ERP systems; it needed a controllable way to access and analyze its increasingly large volume of company data.
Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution:
With a large network of consultants and contributors, Pandora wanted a solution that would allow its 20 internal and external business intelligence developers to be up-and-running in a few hours. This meant spending more time on modeling and analytics and less time on coding. Pandora selected TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub.
List the key components in the solution: TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub enables instant access to any type of data in the organization to support advanced analytics and artificial intelligence. Discovery Hub runs in the cloud, on premises or in a hybrid solution, so companies who are not yet ready to keep their corporate data in the cloud have a flexible model and are accompanied on their journey to the cloud. This means that moving an entire analytical environment built in Discovery Hub, utilizing legacy versions of SQL to the cloud, can be accomplished in as little as a day. It also features:
- fully automated and controlled documentation;
- no need to produce or write code manually; and
- quick start up allowing contractors to utilize platform functionality.
Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned: With TimeXtender’s proprietary automation software, the deployment was must faster than Pandora expected, and with a drag-and-drop capability, configuration was very easy. “The ability to create unique data flows, catered to department needs, also allowed us to have simple administration of data flows and access control for external contractors. This also provides for utilization of new resources quickly,” said Peter Hansen, manager and global BI architect at Pandora.
Describe the result, new efficiencies gained, and what was learned from the project: Pandora uses primarily contractors, and Discovery Hub enables the company to utilize a tool that was controlled by them to provide better independence and management and less dependency on external sources. In addition, since Discovery Hub removes the need for manually writing code, the solutions produced are very similar, universal, and controllable. And third, with a demand for frequent updates, company stakeholders now have fast and easy access to current data down to the quarter hour.
Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: The result was a fully automated and controlled documentation platform that required no need to produce or manually write code. The implementation allowed for a quick start up, enabling contractors to utilize the platform functionally from the outset. With TimeXtender Discovery Hub, Pandora now has a stable system for data source integration and reporting, a base for analytics, and support for contractor collaboration. “TimeXtender helped us save close to 80% of the time Pandora would have typically spent on data integration and preparation,” Hansen said.
Other references: Pandora said that the future might entail using TimeXtender for predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and possibly cloud deployment at some point.
- Business intelligence analysts’ viewpoint about Discovery Hub
- Report titled “TimeXtender streamlines and speeds up data discovery” recently published on the Microsoft Partner Network, detailing how Discovery Hub works and the benefits it delivers for businesses.
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