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Transforming Equifax through a customer-centric, cloud native approach

Having access to the innovative insights that assist in making smarter, data-driven financial decisions is key to living your financial best. Until recently, complex infrastructure and technology have acted as an impediment to bringing disparate sources of data together to provide powerful, predictive insights.

In late 2018, Equifax embarked upon a multiyear, customer-focused, technology transformation with the goal of positioning the company to quickly ingest new data attributes, leveraging a more transparent consumer opt-in for data sharing and creating a strong set of value exchanges across its ecosystem.

To make this vision a reality, leading technology, data and analytics that are built on world class security and data governance capabilities are needed.

A major part of this enterprise-wide overhaul includes rebuilding for true cloud native environments, which will enable Equifax to radically improve and scale our security capabilities across all data sets, APIs and product applications.

While security is at the forefront of our technology offerings, we’re also reducing complexities in our systems to create better outcomes for our customers. This includes decommissioning legacy applications, servers, data platforms and data centers.

Throughout our multi-billion dollar transformation, we’ll focus on security, data governance, transparency and accountability – an approach key to customer growth and success. And we’re putting this approach into action by not lifting and shifting the old, but rather building new capabilities following true cloud architecture principles.

Rebuilding cloud-native applications and data pipelines

Gartner predicts more than half of global enterprises using the cloud today will adopt an all-in cloud strategy by 2021. Engineers at cloud companies integrate the latest security technology and constantly work to ensure their compliance audits are built-in, scalable and consistent at every data center and cloud location. Companies such as Equifax benefit from this as it guarantees our systems will remain at the leading edge for decades to come.

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A monitor displays Equifax Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

To deliver cloud-based, data-driven insights, we’re rebuilding existing applications and data pipelines to be true cloud-native. This will drive product innovation that fuels customer growth.

We live in an always-on world, and our customers expect us to have 100 percent availability too. Our technological transformation – with the cloud front and center – will empower us to provide a continuous flow of new capabilities and data sets that can be easily integrated into their businesses and workflows. This will allow our customers to continually innovate and change within their own companies.

Creating a data fabric that focuses on innovation

A major part of our cloud migration efforts includes launching our own data fabric model that allows us to better adapt to evolving requirements driven by fast-growing data and ever-changing application requirements. This technology creates a converged platform to support ingesting, tagging, enriching, analyzing and storing disparate data.

Our data fabric pipeline is a composable set of capabilities that allows our global engineering teams to focus on data innovation and less on data janitorial workloads. By collaborating with Google and correctly leveraging the scale of the Google Cloud, Equifax aims to bring top-quality scalability, availability, security and data governance to our global data exchanges.

Additionally, as part of our cloud journey, we’ve integrated artificial intelligence and machine learning. This eliminates many of the mundane tasks that developers and data scientists would have to do to access insights and value points they’re searching for. What’s more, we’re working to make everything available via an API, which will help ensure data is more secure and easier to use.

By radically transforming our environment to be more technology-focused and not just moving or upgrading it, we’re geared to offer customers a set of tools for pushing the envelope in their own business and to think about how data can be better-used for their success.

How cloud transformation changes organizational mindset

When a company goes through cloud transformation, its mindset changes. As a technology industry, we all need to get rid of the old mindset that infrastructure is your friend that never fails.

Buying software and hardware that has to be run throughout a long depreciation cycle does not help anyone stay on the leading edge. For a long time in technology, we built data centers, hardened them and bought systems with multiple redundancies to make sure systems never go down.

Well guess what? The reality is; all systems go down. In fact, entire data centers go offline. Built correctly for the cloud, however, allows that to happen without users ever knowing.

We’ve built an engineering handbook on the premise that everything will be deployed in a multi-region and multi-availability zone manner, so there are no single points of failure. This type of approach is only possible by employing true public clouds and its one reason I believe every enterprise will end up adopting cloud native approaches.

In the end, moving to the cloud will benefit our customers in a positive way. They will get leading security, faster access to data, improved accuracy of decisioning, faster model execution, tighter data privacy and governance controls, and more transparent and improved customer service.

Cloud native mindsets will help ensure we’re always on and available, and that it’s easier than ever to do business with Equifax. And with increased speed to market and improved scalability, we can be proactive, rather than reactive.

As the cloud comes of age, we’re embracing it. We’re not simply lifting and shifting old problems to a new infrastructure. Instead, we’re rebuilding from the ground up in a cloud-native way – for better security, higher velocity of product innovation and true, continuous integration.

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