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CASE STUDY - Silotech Saves Customer over $200K for Data Integration Project Using Data Modeling

Commentary by Tiffany Tremont, President, Silotech

Keeping Information Flowing through an Acquisition

Silotech was tasked with integrating disparate data sources as a result of an acquisition. Both the technical infrastructures and business rules of the two companies were vastly different. In addition, the corporate culture of the two companies differed greatly in terms of technical capabilities and expertise. To keep business running smoothly throughout the transition, it was imperative that a cohesive and comprehensible inventory of information was created, and that data assets from both companies were merged into a single, unified view of the enterprise.

Integrating Disparate Cultural and Technical Environments

A top priority of the merger was to integrate the core information assets of the two companies’ key business intelligence and operational systems into a new environment. The new system was a multi-terabyte Oracle 10g RAC application used to capture scanned images for scoring. This system needed to integrate a multitude of legacy sources from the old environment.

To achieve the technical integration, the business rules and definitions from the two companies had to become one. A logical model had to be designed to make this a reality. Although each company’s core data assets were similar, they had unique definitions and rules surrounding the usage, meanings, and reference to the data.

Cultural differences exacerbated the challenges. Silotech’s client (the acquired firm), an educational publishing company, was much less technical than the acquiring company. Silotech was faced with integrating two technically and semantically disparate data stores housing key corporate information assets.

Consolidating Information

Silotech used CA ERwin Data Modeler to reverse engineer information from the source environments and port them into the new system, creating an inventory of the data assets to be integrated. The outcome was a clear road map of the infrastructure, easily translatable from one platform to another. Synchronization was automated in both directions for both existing and new applications.

A business-friendly view of the data infrastructure was achieved by creating a logical model to manage the business rules and requirements. This enabled the use of best practices so that business rules could be understood and implemented, as well as a single view of the definitions for core data assets to be documented and published across the organization. Less technical members of the team used Crystal Reports to share key information with the team.

The simplicity and ease of use of the architecture created by CA ERwin allayed many of the team’s fears. The developers were able to work more efficiently by understanding what information existed and how it was structured. Nontechnical team members used the logical data model and end-user reports in Crystal Reports to understand the information they needed to manage.

Faster Access to More Reliable Information

As a result of the efficiencies created by this new architecture, the organization was able to save more than $200 million in consulting and implementation costs. Silotech completed the project two months ahead of schedule.

“Success occurred on a lot of different levels, not just monetary,” said Tiffany Tremont, president at Silotech. “They were scared of this application and the amount of data, so this allayed a lot of fears.” The ability to make the job easier for both technical and nontechnical members of the team was a big part of the buy-in and success of the project.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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