REVIEWER: Varundeep Kaur, IT manager for Spice Communications Ltd.
BACKGROUND: Spice Communications Ltd. is Punjab's second leading telecommunications company, and with more than 3 million current subscribers, Spice is one of the region's fastest-growing cellular phone service providers. Spice offers a wide range of voice and nonvoice cellular services to subscribers on a postpaid or prepaid basis.
PLATFORMS: Spice Communications runs its Sybase IQ implementation on HP hardware.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Every call by each of Spice's more than 3 million subscribers adds to the enormous quantity of raw information on customer use patterns that must be analyzed to help the companys decision-making process. Sybase IQ gives Spice the ability to analyze trends across the entire data warehouse.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Using Sybase IQ, Spice maintains terabytes of information in a data warehouse populated with 13 months of customer call data. Spice runs advanced multidimensional analytics on the information to model different scenarios, identify sources of revenue loss and uncover gaps in its service offerings, enabling Spice to make well-informed on-the-spot decisions. With Sybase IQ, we are seeing at least a 10 times or better improvement in speed coupled with 40 to 50 percent data compression. Spice is now able to look at and analyze dimensions that were previously out of reach, in a much shorter time, improving our overall data quality. The data warehouse has lowered costs, improved data quality, increased our competitive edge and fostered exceptional growth.
STRENGTHS: Sybase IQ is a column-based analytics server, which is extremely good for query analysis and loading. The learning curve is not steep, and Sybase IQ lets us easily experiment with data. It is so simple to run that our operations work has reduced significantly, and database maintenance is almost negligible. The query speed and data compression of Sybase IQ has also been the key to implementing the data warehouse successfully. The data warehouse is readily available and the increased performance leaves our users free of complaints.
WEAKNESSES: You cant do row-by-row operations efficiently until you have built in the methodology that does a bulk update. Row-by-row operation can consume large amounts of available memory, hence you must consider and write your row-by-row update well so that it gives both performance and efficiency. For this reason, we have Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise as a repository for all our extract, transform and load and reporting products.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We were looking for an architecture developed specifically for advanced analytics, and we chose Sybase IQ because of its reputation for performance and data compression. Our initial foray into data warehousing was built on a traditional OLTP database and we needed a data warehouse that could handle our large volume of daily input with increased response times.
DELIVERABLES: With Sybase IQ, the data warehouse has a large enough data sample to identify trends in a reasonable time frame, delivering data warehouse benefits that range from daily and weekly reports to trend analysis. Specifically, users build their own ad hoc queries and reports, without much assistance from IT. The reports range from operational detailed information to strategic actionable information, providing insights for daily product analysis and promotions design.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support has been extensive and quite commendable. Since we were one of the first telecom operators in India to use Sybase IQ, there was a lack of expertise on how to size and plan storage with hardware vendors and even within Spice Communications. However, Sybase brought in their best architects to support us in sizing and implementing the best practices without any extra cost. Sybase assisted us by doing extensive proof of concept with the database and resolved our technical queries. Sybase also helped in giving tips and tricks as to how to get maximum benefits out of the product. The Sybase support team has been superb in resolving any issues we faced.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is complete and good enough to understand. However you must have a paradigm change in thinking how Sybase IQ works in comparison with other relational database management system products to reap the maximum benefits and to implement correctly.
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