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Transforming the IT Path to Growth

An award-winning and recognized leader in global entertainment and media was experiencing rapid growth across its worldwide base of subscribers and outlets.  This fast and dramatic expansion necessitated a complete overhaul of the company’s IT strategy, to support both its current and anticipated needs.

Embarking on this journey meant committing to a total transformation of the IT environment, to eliminate old technology as an inhibitor to expansion.  To this end, the company needed a partner who could…

Align its plans for further international expansion with a cost-effective and flexible data platform

Build an analytics environment in support of the company’s expansion goals, and

Leverage the globality of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure

Scaling for Success

“The company was relying on a traditional technology model that was limiting its growth potential.  That model would not allow them to flex with the international and seasonal demands of their business,” says Larry Pollastrini, Managing Partner at Vertical Trail.  “Our strong experience with AWS and architecting Big Data solutions was a great fit for building the architecture to support their overall IT strategy.”

Bringing a proven framework for architecting and deploying cloud and Big Data environments, deep experience with the relevant technologies, and a detailed planning process for accelerating delivery and transitioning the new environment to the client, Vertical Trail was uniquely positioned to help address this challenge.

The approach included:

  • Working with the company to gather the key business drivers and requirements
  • Designing a cloud-based architecture that provided the scalability and performance necessary to meet business demands
  • Employing the proven Define | Align | Ascend framework to engage the team via workshops, and interviews with senior management
  • Using a collaborative process to quickly collect the necessary requirements and ensure consensus

“This collaborative process allowed us to gather information quickly, and to ensure that key business users had a voice,” Pollastrini states.

Built with consensus from key stakeholders and tailored to meet business needs, the Vertical Trail solution featured…

  • Migration of core data services (including Big Data, data warehousing, testing, and development) to the cloud
  • Use of AWS EC2 instances and Elastic Load Balancing for the distribution of incoming application traffic
  • Use of AWS Redshift and Elastic Map Reduce to intake huge amounts of data from different sources, as well as to allow immediate expansion or reduction based on demand
  • Use of AWS Kinesis to ingest real-time, streaming data from international platforms and venues
  • Construction of a new environment employing CloudFormation for automatic deployments, and Informatica as a Big Data / ETL solution

The Change – Immediate Benefits

With the Vertical Trail solution in place, the company saw immediate benefits, including…

  • A flexible, scalable, and cost-effective alternative to a traditional infrastructure, which would have taken months – if not years – to develop and deploy. The Vertical Trail solution was designed, planned and deployed within the first 90 days of the project.
  • Data query performance was cut from hours to seconds, allowing deeper and more interactive data analysis to improve the company’s offerings.
  • The agility of the new platform supports a more prescriptive use of data, as well as the collection and analysis of new data sets. The company can now access information and insights that were previously unattainable.

Long Term Ascent

Over time, the company will see additional benefits, including more predictable and lower IT costs, a decrease in ongoing support and deployment costs, increased efficiency for development teams, easy access to new, cloud-based technologies, and the potential to implement new technologies (such as machine learning).

Vertical Trail’s proven process for architecting and deploying new, cloud-based environments allows businesses to accelerate growth and reduce costs in a fraction of the time of traditional infrastructure.

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