Firms face several challenges in their data and digital transformations. Blankfactor ranks managing legacy on-premise data warehouses, sources, and processes as some of the biggest limitations to the innovation that rapid transformation provides. These aren’t insurmountable problems, but they require a strategic approach with a focus on simplification.

The costs associated with ingestion, transformations, ETL, duplicate stores, feeds, tools, vendors, and upskilling can be overwhelming. Leaders at every level are bewildered by the intertwinement between business logic, data use, and the associated technical enablement efforts. Blankfactor can help firms with an execution success data strategy for tangible results to relieve the overload and make a clear path for deliberate value attainment.

As financial services leaders map their company’s data future, they are increasingly on the hunt for more agile, cost-effective data management approaches. Access to real-time insights and cost efficiencies are within reach by leveraging cloud-based solutions and advanced analytics for improved decision-making. Finding a way to enable capabilities fueled by data is the highest of priorities. 

Blankfactor is unlocking the potential of modern data platforms for several clients, reducing the transformation impediments teams face with legacy ecosystems. For one wealth management leader, we addressed complex designs for data infrastructure, enabling advanced analytics and the end-to-end data architecture needed to accelerate their path from legacy. As the client leverages large volumes of data from diverse sources, the project called for a high level of consistency and accuracy while simultaneously integrating disparate data systems and maintaining governance across data sets.

Building an agile data platform from end to end

Our client’s transformation enablement goals were to consolidate advanced analytics across multiple sources and multiple data warehouses to streamline access and simplify toward a single source of truth. The client sought ways to address the increased operational demands and new requirements for insights and analytics coming from their lines of business. Our top priority was the need to help our partner go faster and quickly pivot from many of the standard constraints that come with multiple legacy sources. 

Blankfactor contributed by bringing a much larger vision to life. Impressed with our data expertise and flexible project management approach, our team partnered closely with the client to define and implement a major cloud-based data lake migration and Snowflake platform development initiative. This multi-year strategic partnership involved a deep understanding of the business needs, a phased approach, and extensive knowledge of the data native to financial services.

Data lake migration

Enterprises are complex, with intricate data and organizational structures required to store a range of data types in various states. This requires a staged approach. 

Our team started by building a foundational understanding of the unique business requirements and the types of data consumed to run the business. Next, our data architects designed a framework to ingest current data and be flexible to accommodate future data sources that could prove valuable for the business. Our team’s aim was to build an infrastructure that would quickly adapt and consume data from new sources in anticipation of the client’s future analytics needs—and enable the turn down of older sources by ingesting data more directly.

The data lake framework was established from end to end, including data sourcing, ingest, transformation, cleaning, and data warehousing. The new data lake consolidated the multiple legacy data warehouses into Snowflake. This streamlined data management approach ensured consistent reporting across the organization and provided the foundation for more advanced analytics and consumption patterns going forward. Snowflake allows for integrating diverse data sources without needing extensive transformation or preprocessing, thus simplifying the data consolidation process.

Extensible data ingestion framework

How firms structure data ingestion is an equally crucial part of the process, as ingest processes can impact data quality, management costs, and analytics capabilities. 

With this in mind, Blankfactor built an extensible framework to enable rapid data ingestion from new sources. This end-to-end framework retrieves data from the source, ingests it into the Snowflake platform, performs necessary transformations, and moves the cleansed data into the data warehouse. 

This enables business users to control the rules for data cleaning, classification, governance, and other functions. This future-proof architecture allows the client to easily integrate new data sources and more robust analytics capabilities as their needs evolve.

Performance optimization

Through close collaboration with Snowflake, we achieved a 10x improvement in data ingestion speed while reducing costs. This was achieved by leveraging AWS native services for ingestion and reducing licensing costs. The team also built an automated testing framework to run queries against the legacy and new data warehouses and identify any data discrepancies so they can be investigated and explained.

Designing for security in Snowflake

Security is paramount for financial institutions handling sensitive customer data. Snowflake has powerful native capabilities for secure data sharing, but implementing them requires careful design and attention to security roles and access controls. 

We worked closely with our client to architect Snowflake security and ensure users have access to only the most appropriate data. We also provided training to the client on proper configuration and management of these security roles.

Unlocking the potential of cloud data

Our partner’s data lake migration and cloud-based platform enabled other significant benefits, including:

  • Scalability and cost reduction: The Snowflake-based data lake offers significant cost savings compared to the starting point, which was their on-premise infrastructure. With the separation of data storage from compute, our partner can flexibly scale resources based on workload, pay only for what they use, and cost-effectively store and query much more historical data compared to legacy systems—without the inefficiencies that come with archiving and unarchiving past data. 
  • Improved data quality and consistency: Combining multiple data warehouses into a single source of truth by leveraging Snowflake eliminates discrepancies across reports and ensures organization-wide data consistency. The automated testing framework also ensures data quality.
  • Enablement of data governance: Snowflake provides robust access control mechanisms, including role-based access control (RBAC), which enables organizations to define precisely who can view or manipulate data. This granularity ensures that sensitive information is only accessible by authorized users, reducing the risk of data misuse.  
  • Enhanced data sharing: Snowflake’s governed data sharing capabilities enable the client to securely share live, governed data with authorized internal and external users. This fosters self-service analytics and deeper collaboration. It will allow the client the flexibility for new use cases and consumers in the product innovation process.
  • Enhanced analytics capabilities: The modern data lake empowers the client to leverage real-time data, advanced analytics tools, and AI/ML use cases and unlock valuable insights that were previously inaccessible or difficult to harness. Snowflake’s elasticity allows many complex queries to run simultaneously without resource contention.
  • Actionable insights: The advanced analytics possible with this cloud-based platform drives critical business decisions faster and easier than with the previous ecosystem. Quickly getting around the constraints has enabled analytics and digital teams with far more flexibility and enjoyment in analyzing the data.

Data complexity meets elite project management 

At Blankfactor, our tailored data solutions are paired with high-level project management to ensure successful outcomes for our clients, even for the most complex initiatives. Together with data strategy, data architecture, and business experts, our cross-functional project management approach hit the top priorities, enabled solutions to remedy top constraints, and moved at a brisk pace.

This multi-year strategic partnership enabled actionable and tangible milestones throughout the consolidation to deliver business value during the initiative. The coordination, communication, grit, and sense of purpose to move our client’s legacy data warehouses into a unified, cloud-based data lake on Snowflake required partnership, trust, understanding, and, at times, courage to explore new ways of working with all teams.

We navigated the challenges and celebrated much success in this complex data migration with our commitment to project management excellence. A phased, iterative approach allowed us to adapt to evolving findings and discoveries. Our team remained flexible as we learned of interesting existing patterns, consumers, and all the code to contend with. The dynamic team structures and open dialog enabled us to match the right technical expertise to each project stage while maintaining continuity.

Our data experts can dive in and rapidly build solutions even under tight timelines and challenging circumstances. Our team coordinated efforts across multiple organizations to deliver on our commitments and to ensure high satisfaction from our client.  

Unlock business impact and insights with data

For financial services firms, unlocking the power of cloud-based data requires careful planning and a phased approach to navigate complex legacy environments, meet strict security requirements, and fully leverage cloud data platforms to maximize cost and performance benefits. 

Blankfactor’s data engineering teams have the domain expertise and technical depth to be your trusted partner for data strategy, complex data design, and digital transformations. We work closely with you to optimize your enterprise data assets from end-to-end to power the next phases of innovation and insights. Our elite teams can accelerate your data enablement of digital transformation. 

Learn more about our solutions or get a complimentary 60-minute strategy session today.