Category Archives: General

What is the Silver Lining in Cloud for Financial Services?

This was a great week of excitement and innovation here in San Francisco starting with the San Francisco Giants winning the National League Pennant for the 3rd time in 5 years on the same day Saleforce’s Dreamforce 2014 wrapped up their largest customer conference with over 140K+ attendees from all over the world talking about their new Customer Success Platform.

Salesforce has come a long way from their humble beginnings as the new kid on the cloud front for CRM. The integrated sales, marketing, support, collaboration, application, and analytics as part of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform exemplifies innovation and significant business value upside for various industries however I see it very promising for today’s financial services industry. However like any new business application, the value business gains from it are dependent in having the right data available for the business.

The reality is, SaaS adoption by financial institutions has not been as quick as other industries due to privacy concerns, regulations that govern what data can reside in public infrastructures, ability to customize to fit their business needs, cultural barriers within larger institutions that critical business applications must reside on-premise for control and management purposes, and the challenges of integrating data to and from existing systems with SaaS applications.  However, experts are optimistic that the industry may have turned the corner. Gartner (NYSE:IT) asserts more than 60 percent of banks worldwide will process the majority of their transactions in the cloud by 2016.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges and what’s required to overcome these obstacles when adopting cloud solutions to power your business.

Challenge #1:  Integrating and sharing data between SaaS and on-premise must not be taken likely

For most banks and insurance companies considering new SaaS based CRM, Marketing, and Support applications with solutions from Salesforce and others must consider the importance of migrating and sharing data between cloud and on-premise applications in their investment decisions.  Migrating existing customer, account, and transaction history data is often done by IT staff through the use of custom extracts, scripts, and manual data validations which can carry over invalid information from legacy systems making these new application investments useless in many cases.

For example, customer type descriptions from one or many existing systems may be correct in their respective databases however collapsing them into a common field in the target application seems easy to do. Unfortunately, these transformation rules can be complex and that complexity increases when dealing with tens if not hundreds of applications during the migration and synchronization phase. Having capable solutions to support the testing, development, quality management, validation, and delivery of existing data from old to new is not only good practice, but a proven way of avoiding costly workarounds and business pain in the future.

Challenge 2:  Managing and sharing a trusted source of shared business information across the enterprise.

As new SaaS applications are adopted, it is critical to understand how to best govern and synchronize common business information such as customer contact information (e.g. address, phone, email) across the enterprise. Most banks and insurance companies have multiple systems that create and update critical customer contact information, many of them which reside on-premise. For example, insurance customers who update contact information such as a phone number or email address while filing an insurance claim will often result in that claims specialist to enter/update only the claims system given the siloed nature of many traditional banking and insurance companies. This is the power of Master Data Management which is purposely designed to identify changes to master data including customer records in one or many systems, update the customer master record, and share that across other systems that house and require that update is essential for business continuity and success.

In conclusion, SaaS adoption will continue to grow in financial services and across other industries. The silver lining in the cloud is your data and the technology that supports the consumption and distribution of it across the enterprise. Banks and insurance companies investing in new SaaS solutions will operate in a hybrid environment made up of Cloud and core transaction systems that reside on-premise. Cloud adoption will continue to grow and to ensure investments yield value for businesses, it is important to invest in a capable and scalable data integration platform to integrate, govern, and share data in a hybrid eco-system.

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Posted in B2B, Cloud, Financial Services, General | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Go On, Flip Your Division of Labor: More Time Analyzing and Less Time Prepping Data

Are you in Sales Operations, Marketing Operations, Sales Representative/Manager, or Marketing Professional? It’s no secret that if you are, you benefit greatly from the power of performing your own analysis, at your own rapid pace. When you have a hunch, you can easily test it out by visually analyzing data in Tableau without involving IT. When you are faced with tight timeframes in which to gain business insight from data, being able to do it yourself in the time you have available and without technical roadblocks makes all the difference.

Self-service Business Intelligence is powerful!  However, we all know it can be even more powerful. When needing to put together an analysis, we know that you spend about 80% of your time putting together data, and then just 20% of your time analyzing data to test out your hunch or gain your business insight. You don’t need to accept this anymore. We want you to know that there is a better way!

We want to allow you to Flip Your Division of Labor and allow you to spend more than 80% of your time analyzing data to test out your hunch or gain your business insight and less than 20% of your time putting together data for your Tableau analysis! That’s right. You like it. No, you love it. No, you are ready to run laps around your chair in sheer joy!! And you should feel this way. You now can spend more time on the higher value activity of gaining business insight from the data, and even find copious time to spend with your family. How’s that?

Project Springbok is a visionary new product designed by Informatica with the goal of making data access and data quality obstacles a thing of the past.  Springbok is meant for the Tableau user, a data person would rather spend their time visually exploring information and finding insight than struggling with complex calculations or waiting for IT. Project Springbok allows you to put together your data, rapidly, for subsequent analysis in Tableau. Project Springbok tells you things about your data that even you may not have known. It does it through Intelligent Suggestions that it presents to the User.

Let’s take a quick tour:

  • Project Springbok tells you, that you have a date column and that you likely want to obtain the Year and Quarter for your analysis (Fig 1)., And if you so wish, by a single click, voila, you have your corresponding years and even the quarters. And it all happened in mere seconds. A far cry from the 45 minutes it would have taken a fluent user of Excel to do using VLOOKUPS.

data

                                                                      Fig. 1

VALUE TO A MARKETING CAMPAIGN PROFESSIONAL: Rapidly validate and accurately complete your segmentation list, before you analyze your segments in Tableau. Base your segments on trusted data that did not take you days to validate and enrich.

  • Then Project Springbok will tell you that you have two datasets that could be joined on a common key, email for example, in each dataset, and would you like to move forward and join the datasets (Fig 2)? If you agree with Project Springbok’s suggestion, voila, dataset joined in a mere few seconds. Again, a far cry from the 45 minutes it would have taken a fluent user of Excel to do using VLOOKUPS.

Data

  Fig. 2

VALUE TO A SALES REPRESENTATIVE OR SALES MANAGER: You can now access your Salesforce.com data (Fig 3) and effortlessly combine it with ERP data to understand your true quota attainment. Never miss quota again due to a revenue split, be it territory or otherwise. Best of all, keep your attainment datatset refreshed and even know exactly what datapoint changed when your true attainment changes.

Data

Fig. 3

  • Then, if you want, Project Springbok will tell you that you have emails in the dataset, which you may or may not have known, but more importantly it will ask you if you wish to determine which emails can actually be mailed to. If you proceed, not only will Springbok check each email for correct structure (Fig 4), but will very soon determine if the email is indeed active, and one you can expect a response from. How long would that have taken you to do?

VALUE TO A TELESALES REPRESENTATIVE OR MARKETING EMAIL CAMPAIGN SPECIALIST : Ever thought you had a great email list and then found out most emails bounced? Now, confidently determine which emails are truly ones will be able to email to, before you send the message. Email prospects who you know are actually at the company and be confident you have their correct email addresses. You can then easily push the dataset into Tableau to analyze the trends in email list health.

Data

Fig. 4

 And, in case you were wondering, there is no training or install required for Project Springbok. The 80% of your time you used to spend on data preparation is now shrunk considerably, and this is after using only a few of Springbok’s capabilities. One more thing: You can even directly export from Project Springbok into Tableau via the “Export to Tableau TDE” menu item (Fig 5).  Project Springbok creates a Tableau TDE file and you just double click on it to open Tableau to test out your hunch or gain your business insight.

Data

Fig. 5

Here are some other things you should know, to convince you that you, too, can only spend no more than 20% of you time on putting together data for your subsequent Tableau analysis:

  • Springbok Sign-Up is Free
  • Springbok automatically finds problems with your data, and lets you fix them with a single click
  • Springbok suggests useful ways for you to combine different datasets, and lets you combine them effortlessly
  • Springbok suggests useful summarizations of your data, and lets you follow through on the summarizations with a single click
  • Springbok allows you to access data from your cloud or on-premise systems with a few clicks, and the automatically keep it refreshed. It will even tell you what data changed from the last time you saw it
  • Springbok allows you to collaborate by sharing your prepared data with others
  • Springbok easily exports your prepared data directly into Tableau for immediate analysis. You do not have to tell Tableau how to interpret the prepared data
  • Springbok requires no training or installation

Go on. Shift your division of labor in the right direction, fast. Sign-Up for Springbok and stop wasting precious time on data preparation. http://bit.ly/TabBlogs

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Are you going to be at Dreamforce this week in San Francisco?  Interested in seeing Project Springbok working with Tableau in a live demonstration?  Visit the Informatica or Tableau booths and see the power of these two solutions working hand-in-hand.Informatica is Booth #N1216 and Booth #9 in the Analytics Zone. Tableau is located in Booth N2112.

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Posted in B2B, Big Data, Business Impact / Benefits, Business/IT Collaboration, General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Reasons Every College Student Should Intern at Informatica

 

jlauing_linkedinIn my recent blog post, What Millennials Want, I mentioned that we are bringing you a special blog series, “Informatica Interns Ideas: 2014.” Today’s post is from Jacob Lauing, a Product Marketing Management Intern located in our Redwood City HQ office. Jacob is a journalism junior at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly). When Jacob is not working at Informatica, you can find him editing news stories and managing a staff full of reporters as Editor in Chief of Mustang News, Cal Poly’s student newspaper.

5 Reasons Every College Student Should Intern at Informatica

As my 12-week internship at Informatica winds down, I’ve had a chance to reflect. My summer on Seaport Boulevard has been a productive one, with quality tech experience under my belt, a handful of industry connections and a ton of new friends.

If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re considering a stint at Informatica. Let me convince you.

It shouldn’t be too difficult.

1) Informatica’s products are essential to modern business

Coming from a non-technical background, I’ll admit that when I applied for this position, I was a little confused as to what Informatica actually did. The term “data integration” didn’t mean a whole lot to me.  I figured – given the company’s heavily technical products – they didn’t have much of an impact outside of a niche market.

Boy, was I wrong.

Particularly because I’ve been working with Informatica’s customers, I realized they vary across all industries. From retail to healthcare to athletics, companies of all varietals use data to grow their business, and I’ve come to understand how important Informatica is in that process.

2) No stereotypical “intern” work

No, I never went on coffee runs.

It’s the fear of any intern, that he or she will be subjected to manual labor, acting as every employee’s slave.

That wasn’t the case this summer. From the start, I was put on projects that actually added value to the team. My competitive analysis research was used in an executive level board meeting to help Informatica position its products. My own web page designs will appear on the redesigned Informaticacloud.com. The copy I wrote promoting Informatica’s new release was published on Twitter.

I made a difference, and that’s an invaluable feeling.

3) Informatica is kind of a big deal…

The company just surpassed the $1 billion revenue mark, a major milestone that employees are quick to mention and clearly very proud of.

In the world of SaaS and data integration, Informatica is the top dog. If you’re looking to establish yourself and build a career in tech, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to have Informatica’s name on your resume.

4) Fun

Let’s not forget that most Informatica interns are still in college. We love to socialize and we love to have fun – there was no shortage.

With networking parties, San Francisco Giants games, trips to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and a boat cruise on the Bay, this summer was a blast. I got to meet a ton of other like-minded interns whom I consider friends.

I know we’ll keep in touch.

5) Informatica wants what’s best for you

I can’t speak to this point enough.

Some interns are destined to be software developers, and Informatica gave them the platform to do so. But other interns – me included – are still trying to figure out the whole career thing. Surprisingly, the folks running Informatica’s intern program were just as attentive to my needs.

Bottom line is they want what’s best for you.

Whether that entails a career at Informatica or a job elsewhere, they want to help you find your way. They want you to learn not only about an exciting industry and skillset, but also about yourself.

And that’s what college is all about, right?

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What Millennials Want – Putting My Potential to Work, at Work!

What Millenials Want

In my recent blog post, What Millennials Want, I mentioned that we are bringing you a special blog series, “Informatica Interns Ideas: 2014.” Today’s post, “What Millennials Want – Putting My Potential to Work, at Work!”, comes from Amitha Narayanan, a Technical Writing Documentation Intern located in our Redwood City HQ office. Amitha is pursuing her Masters in Technical Communication at North Carolina State University. When Amitha is not authoring technical content, you can find her outdoors, exploring the city, reading books on park benches, or doing yoga.

Putting my potential to work, at work!

Have you ever had an Aha! moment that changed you forever? If yes, you know what I mean when I say “that feels great.” If no, I pray you do one day. I had two epiphanies this summer.

My mentor entrusted me with the task of creating video tutorials for our users of Big Data Trial Sandbox for Cloudera. The first time I heard the string of words, it was all Greek to me. I had to do voice narration too, which was my least favorite part. All in all, I was off to a shaky start! However, as the summer progressed, I made small steps into the world of Big Data. The Big Data videos gave me confidence in a BIG way. I now love the sound of my own voice and am positive that I can do this stuff! This experience single-handedly kicked years of me restricting myself from exciting possibilities.

Every time I hear people talk about their love for networking, I wish I felt the same way about it as they did. This summer, I got my wish. Informatica gave me the perfect non-threatening environment to interact and grow to be comfortable in my own skin. The networking event for interns turned out of be one of my most favorite events of the summer. From the prep tips to the informal setting to the absolute coolest senior management, the event was a wholesome package. For a person like me who tends to shy away from these, it was a revelation that networking does not have to be intimidating!

I now know that all of us have “wow factors” in us, sometimes it takes a bit of work to help us realize what they are.

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What Do Millennials Want: Making This Your Best Internship Yet

Making This Your Best Internship Yet

Making This Your Best Internship Yet


In my recent blog post, What Do Millennials Want?, I mentioned that we are bringing you a special blog series, “Informatica Interns Ideas: 2014.” Today’s post comes from Sai Avala, a Software Engineering Intern on the Project Springbok Team located in our Redwood City HQ office. Sai is a rising senior at University of Texas at Austin (UT). He’s currently pursuing his degree in Computer Science and Certificates in Scientific Computing and Statistical Modeling. He helped found a mobile app development organization at UT, and teaches his own Android App development class every week. When Sai isn’t at work, he’s most likely hanging out with friends or coding up a new project. Oh yeah, he’s interning with Informatica for the second time!. His post today is titled “Making This Your Best Internship Yet.”

Like many of us, I had a number of choices when it came to my summer internship. And, I chose Informatica not once, but twice.  That’s right; this is my second as an intern at Informatica.  Why you ask?  Good question.

When I was trying to make my decision, it was really pretty easy.  My criteria were that I needed to feel comfortable approaching management with ideas, I needed to make an impact, and I needed to learn and have fun. And, based on my experience last summer, I knew I could find all of that at Informatica.

I like coming up with new ideas.  Here, I feel comfortable approaching management to pitch my ideas and to give my suggestions.  And, I know, based on my experience last year, that they take my suggestions seriously.  One of the highlights of last summer was seeing the work I did actually integrated into the product.

At Informatica you have the ability to drive your career.  You also have the ability to explore and cultivate your interests.  Just recently, I was thinking about some new ways to market Project Springbok (One of Informatica’s new products). I saw the Chief Strategy Officer (Ivan Chong) walk by (he heads the team), stopped him, and started to pitch it to him. Next thing you know, we’re at my desk and we’re hammering the details out. It’s definitely rare to see this kind of interaction between an intern and someone on the Executive Leadership Team

Whether you’re interested in coming up with new ideas and strategies, software development, marketing, or sales, look for ways to grow your skills, I really feel like Once a company reaches the “mid-size” status or larger, it can be hard to find your place. But, you know what, that’s not a problem here at Informatica. There’s so many great people, that literally everyone here has the chance to shine.

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