Reference Architecture for Customer Analytics
Each time your customers interact with you, on whatever channel they choose, they reveal their likes, dislikes and interests, as well as their needs and motivations, leaving behind a trail of data for you to follow. It’s no wonder they expect you have an intuitive understanding of what they need, but are you in a position to deliver?
Data Integration and Cleansing – Talend
Talend supplies the data fabric platform covering all capabilities outlined in our reference architecture. This platform expedites the collection and preparation of a wide range of data for any campaign, sales meeting or service, both real time and batch.
In addition, Talend includes:
- Cloud API services
- Data preparation
- Data profiling
- Data stewardship
Since Talend can be hosted on the Cloud, this frees up your IT department to focus on other areas of business instead of needing to provide support and maintenance. In addition, Talend supports machine learning to de-dupe and cleanse customer data, due to its native integration with Apache Spark. This can greatly help speed up the unification of customer records from multiple business systems, allowing you to build single customer view.
Talend is based on an open source stack that allows it to build valuable accelerators so you can ask even the most unusual questions of your data. In addition, Talend’s recent acquisition of Stitch gives you a readymade cloud-based platform to integrate data from a variety of sales and marketing sources. As if that wasn’t enough, the platform works natively with data warehouse platforms for Snowflake and Amazon Redshift, our recommended technologies for Cloud data warehousing.
Data Warehousing – Snowflake and Amazon Redshift
With modern technology allowing data and customer actions to be recorded in near real time, traditional data warehouses can no longer keep up. We firmly believe your data warehouse should be intelligent enough to be self-recuperating without the requirement of an army of personnel overseeing daily maintenance.
This is why a Cloud based data warehouse is the only solution.
Snowflake is a data warehouse that is genuinely cloud native. It supports standard SQL, a favourite with analysts and data scientists alike. It can be commissioned in minutes without the requirement to build an infrastructure. It can scale up or down based on usage and concurrency, giving you a great way to spread the load across teams. With support available for both structured and semi-structured data, it can support a high number of use cases.
Alternatively, choose Amazon Redshift, one of the first scalable data warehouses released on Cloud.
Redshift’s architecture differs to Snowflake’s, since it is primarily based on PostgreSQL database. If you are embedded deeply on AWS with a focus on its integration solution using AWS Glue platform, databases on RDS & querying using Athena, we would recommend Redshift, as it provides the out of the box flexibility you need for integrating data.
Ultimately, the choice you make depends on your needs and we always recommend an assessment and PoC to ensure you make the right choice, since the data warehouse sits at the heart of a data driven organisation. When carrying out a data warehouse assessment, we consider several parameters, such as:
- Alignment to business and enterprise architecture objectives
- Cost benefit analysis
- Performance and accessibility
Data Visualisation and Reporting – Looker and Microsoft Power BI
With a Cloud-based architecture and strong governance via its mark-up language, LookML, we believe Looker is well placed to replace monolithic BI platforms. It provides the semantic layer missing in self-service platforms thanks to its strong Git based integration for collaboration and rapid changes. With the rise of Cloud-based data warehousing platforms such as Snowflake and Amazon Redshift, Looker fits perfectly on top of these scalable platforms to discover and explore your data.
While Looker gives you a data platform, Power BI offers an excellent self-service alternative. Its ease of use and packaging with Office 365 gives you a powerful alternative. Power BI supports a wide range of sources, so you can connect and directly start working with them. We’re confident that Microsoft will continue to deliver a wide range of visualisations and innovations, making Power BI a superb alternative to Looker for businesses getting started on their data driven journey.
The key differences between Looker and Power BI are:
- The strong governance layer
- Native integration with version control
- The native action component to close the loop
Delivering the level of service you need
Our reference architecture, together with the technology stack, supports our core tenet of building a culture of curiosity by asking unusual questions of our data, enabling the full cycle of data to insight to action. We are confident the right stack will power the next generation of digital and data transformation so your business can fully benefit from everything these tools have to offer.
While you might not initially need all capabilities, we’ll design a roadmap that considers all possibilities at-build based on your priorities, giving you the greatest chance of success.