Big Data

How Chatham Financial optimized its big data for better insights

For SMBs, data can be a challenge. Here's how one company dealt with the obstacles of being an SMB, and put its data to work.

Image: iStock/tonymelony

Chatham Financial serves more than 1,600 customers around the world, providing interest rates, FX (forex currency), and commodity hedge and hedge accounting. As a small and medium-sized company (SMB), it must compete with very large enterprises that have magnitudes of greater IT resources and budget. Consequently, Chatham Financial must find a way to optimize its intelligence gathering from big data at the same time that it assures the safety and the security of client data.

"Our client data is absolutely sacrosanct to us," said Matt Roberts, Chatham Financial's marketing analytics manager.

This was the reason why Chatham needed maximum security when it transported data from off premise cloud sources into an internal data warehouse that it wanted to build.

"We had to determine who within the company would have access to which data in this warehouse, and what the rules of access would be," said Roberts. "We also had to define what our data backup process would be, how often we would refresh our data to ensure its currency, and what type of security encryption we wanted to apply to the data so that it would remain impenetrable to anyone unauthorized to access it."

As a resource-sensitive SMB, Chatham Financial did not want to do the entire end to end process on its own—so it found a business partner and solution with DataDirect's Progress connectors that could securely transport data from cloud-based services like Salesforce and Marketo into Chatham's internal data warehouse.

"We saved a lot of time doing the data transport process this way," said Roberts. "What might have been a six-month data integration process into the warehouse took just a few weeks by using the connector software. Until we tried it, we didn't know for sure if the transport method would work as we wanted it to, so we initially tried a proof of concept, which proved be successful. We then moved to an enterprise version of the connectors."

Chatham Financial's data warehouse has been running now for nine months and they're pleased. Roberts said the reports from the data warehouse are good, answer their analytics questions faster.

"The connecting software assures the transport and the security during transport of our data and helps to level the playing field since we don't have the IT resources that larger firms do," he said.

Most importantly for the end business, Chatham Financial now has more accurate reporting (and insights) into customer behavior. "The data warehouse is assisting us in more proactively using our Website information for lead generation, as well as in tracking who attends our Webinars, what the demographics of attendees are, and what the feedback is. We also have a better handle on the open rates for our emails, as well as what would make an individual unsubscribe."

Roberts said that the success of the program was in being able to "make the reports from the data warehouse immediately usable by giving users more insights into the market and their customers." The value created by the reports is also impacting corporate culture and processes.

"Above all, it's important to have an active sponsor of your data analytics who is in senior management," said Roberts.

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About Mary Shacklett

Mary E. Shacklett is president of Transworld Data, a technology research and market development firm. Prior to founding the company, Mary was Senior Vice President of Marketing and Technology at TCCU, Inc., a financial services firm; Vice President o...

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