Modernizing the Analytics Environment

The Internet, Big Data, and Advanced Analytics are Changing our World

It is widely known that the world is producing and storing enormous amounts of data ranging from text, to images, and videos. In addition, an ever increasing number of mobile application and sensor enabled devices are being connected to internal networks and the internet which are providing real-time feeds of data. New kinds of real-time information are being made available from travel traffic patterns, to products moving through inventory and transportation, to biochips and smart monitors. We are moving into the age of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) with the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing-like devices within the existing internet infrastructure. It is estimated that there will be nearly 25 billion devices on the internet by 2020. The data and information that will be made available will open doors to advanced analysis and the ability to act on it in ways we may not currently imagine.

Advanced Analytics Technologies Here Today

Companies will need to modernize their business and IT Analytics capabilities to take advantage of this new data and create new business opportunities before their competitors do. A number of advanced and new technical capabilities are quickly becoming available and affordable for companies large and small to harness the explosion of data:

  • Big Data – the ability to process enormous amounts of data in parallel. Hadoop is an open source software project that enables the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of commodity servers.
  • In-Database Processing (performing analytic processing within the database)
  • In-Memory Processing (taking advantage of large memory space for analytic processing)
  • Grid Processing – (the use of distributed parallel processing across a server grid)
  • Cloud Computing – (the ability to store and process in private and public clouds on demand)

Modernizing the Analytics Environment

With all this available data and new analytical capability, companies will soon realize they need to modernize their architectures, organizations, and processes in order to have the most accurate intelligence to address the driving business challenges they face. This requires a planned approach to handling the data volume, complexity of analysis, and cycle time requirements.

Our goal at Strong Tower is to be a trusted advisor with deep knowledge and expertise in the current technology and advanced techniques to help our clients maximize the value from their existing analytics and business intelligence (BI) platforms. When we make recommendations, we educate our clients on the short-term and long-term trade-offs of technical decisions and always keep the business value in focus.

We are currently working with several clients to modernize their Analytic and BI environments. All of our modernizations start with understanding the strategic direction and assessment of the current environment. This is a critical step in the process and ensures a thorough recommendation backed by business direction and current technical challenges that the client is experiencing. The types of modernizations we have and are currently working on include:

  • Platform Upgrades, and Migrations (e.g. Business Objects Version Upgrade)
  • Component Architecture and Configuration Upgrade (SAS PC to Server Based)
  • Multi-Phase Analytic Architecture Strategy and Execution (Storage Optimization, Component Consolidation, Data Preparation Automation, and Migration to Grid Computing)

Case Study: Regional Bank

Strong Tower has been working with a regional bank over the past 18 months to modernize their Risk Management analytics environment. We jointly developed a roadmap with the client to modernize their environment addressing not only technical strategy, but the organizational and business alignment strategy needed to deliver the maximum value from their investment in advanced analytics.

The following diagram depicts the basic process and workflow for Risk Analytics modeling within the bank:

flowchart

The overall goal for this client is to increase the capacity, speed, and efficiency of producing risk models, shortening the time into production and removing hard coded, labor intensive execution methodology prevalent today for the commercial and retail products they offer to their customers. In addition, these models and their underlying logic and execution steps must be auditable for regulation and hence self-documenting to the extent possible.

A multi-phase project plan was developed as part of the roadmap with clear definition of business benefits for each phase:

timetable

A key aspect of the overall plan is that both the Information Technology (IT) organization and the business areas will collaborate and operate in an integrated fashion. The “one team” approach minimizes communication, hand-offs, and allows for both formal IT controls and the exploratory nature of analytics to take place.

If you’ve purchased analytics technology but something still isn’t right or you have performance issues, contact Strong Tower today to explore the possibilities.