Looker Blog : Data Matters

How Looker + Denodo Deliver Quicker Insights for Ultra Mobile

Ravi Shankar, CMO, Denodo

Aug 25, 2017

denodo

Denodo is a data integration and data management company that’s partnered closely with Looker. Our platform integrates data from disparate sources and uses data virtualization to create secure views of the data, as needed, in real time, and deliver it to business users.

As opposed to the traditional style of data integration - Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) - Denodo is real time data integration or data virtualization, which allows you to interact with your data sources without physically centralizing it. Like Looker, we do not require users to physically move their data and this is very useful for quickly accessing new data sources for ad hoc exploration.

Denodo is a data abstraction layer that goes across all of the enterprise sources, and provides a central point - as a virtual database - that can access the underlying data and provide that to a consumer. From a data management perspective, we have capabilities within our product that also allow business users to be able to search the data and discover the relationships and the associations for the data, and also do that in a very secure fashion.

Denodo sits between Looker and the data sources. We aggregate the data from the different sources and make it available to Looker, so that Looker can actually use that data to provide all the analytical capabilities.

Our joint customer, Ultra Mobile, provides a clear example of how companies can use these programs together.

Ultra Mobile is mobile virtual network operator based out of Southern California. They serve customers who are mostly foreign born people living in the United States and who typically call friends and family outside of the United States. They have a subscriber base of about 1 million people and unlimited calling to about 60 different destinations.

With their previous data solution, they experienced two broad challenges; the first was low business visibility. They wanted to be able to make fact-based decisions that would provide them better operations and help them improve their revenue growth and profitability.

The second challenge was with time-to-insight. Whenever they needed to respond swiftly to customer expectations, they had to rely on retailers and others, and the process of getting the data they needed slowed the entire process down.

They are in an industry where competition is pretty heavy, so responding quickly is extremely important. The business problems are the symptoms, and the root cause is the technology. There was something limiting in the technology that did not provide the agility on the business side.

To solve those two problems, they found that the combination of Looker on the front-end with data virtualization from Denodo as the middle layer worked best. Ultra Mobile stores its data in SQL server and Hadoop systems, runs some cloud applications like Salesforce, and also has some of their applications running on AWS. They use Denodo to access the data from these disparate data sources and make that data available to Looker.

Denodo supports data governance to verify who can access what data, and also data lineage to view the hierarchy and relationships among this data. There are several vital components that go into accessing and delivering the data. The first is the caching technology that allows data analysts at Ultra Mobile to receive the information much faster, rather than having to go to the source every single time.Remember, one of Ultra Mobile’s business problems was latency. They wanted the ability to get the data quickly. Denodo, with its caching ability, helps them provide that information rapidly.

Using the combination of Denodo and Looker, they were able to build out dashboards, reports, and analysis that can be delivered in real time to their business leaders and business users. Typically, these projects would take them several months before the data actually shows up in their data warehousing tables, and then for the business leaders to see that information in the reporting tool. Now they can deliver these reports and dashboards within days, and in some cases, in minutes.

One of the best examples they shared is the improvement in the feedback loop between their users and the Ultra Mobile team. A key goal of theirs was to make sure their customers have the best possible call experience every time they pick up the phone to call a friend or family member. Having that kind of a real-time view into call quality across caller locations and countries enables them to respond much faster, so if there is a surge in call volume into China and the call quality is beginning to drop, they can respond almost immediately.

They have about different dashboards that they have created to monitor the call quality. Before, it used to take about 15 minutes for them to see all of these things that are happening. That would be too late to react.

Today, they’re able to see all of this information in seconds so they can monitor the call volume, the call quality, and respond much faster. When their customer picks up the phone to call a family member in another country, every second counts, so Ultra Mobile uses data to be able to understand their business better, and make proper decisions much faster to ultimately make every call great for their customers.

Ultra Mobile’s ability to use data to make quicker, better decisions is just one example of the way that Denodo and Looker have been able to join together to bring data solutions to many different companies.

Visit Denodo at JOIN 2017 to learn more about the Denodo Platform for Data Virtualization and how customers like Ultra Mobile are accelerating their fast data strategy with data virtualization.

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