2019 – 2020

smava – moving reporting to the future

smava – moving reporting to the future

I helped smava to migrate from an on-premise data warehouse to cloud-native, event-driven BI built on top of Snowflake and Tableau.

In autumn 2019 I was asked by smava to push their reporting and business intelligence into the XXI century. Legacy in-house infrastructure based on PostgreSQL and Pentaho Data Integration with thousands of custom SQL scripts was seriously unstable and far behind business needs.

Special tasks require special forces. I created a cross-functional, independent team of data-engineers, dev-ops, marketing, and analytics. We decided to split our job into three main phases.

Stage one was focused on stability. Our goal was to allow the business to have the data they need every single morning. We defined success metrics and gradually started implementing monitoring, failover backups, and disaster recovery plans. This phase gave us stakeholders credibility.

The second stage was all about performance. Not only some of the reports were delivered in the afternoon but it was getting slower every single week. Our target goal was to deliver all top priority reports by 6 am. And we did it. This phase bought us time to start working on a desired solution.

In the third stage, we were looking for a future reporting solution for smava. After careful review of the existing options on the market, we decided to run two proof of concepts for Snowflake and AWS Redshift. This led us to a fully informed decision—building the future of reporting on top of Snowflake.

See Eric Heymann's (smava SVP Technology) perspective.

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Archeology—let's first understand what we have. Working on stability first.
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The second phase—chasing performance bottlenecks.
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Third phase–devops, data engineer and analytics working arm-to-arm.
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Let's agree on how we work together.
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Clear goal that we all agree on is a king.
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Dedicated space allow the team to work focused is critical.