At the IBM Think Digital 2020 event, there was a session on Business continuity in times of Covid-19. The participants were Jake Sewell, Director of Analytics, Harry Rosen, and Ben Hudson, senior product manager, IBM.
Ben Hudson said that IBM is offering the Db2 cloud offerings. It is a fully-managed, high-performance, elastic cloud services, built for the modern enterprise. You can have cloud data warehouse as a service. It comes with all the features that you need to secure and run your enterprise data.
The IBM Db2 Warehouse on Cloud is a fully managed SaaS, that is scalable and elastic, highly available and reliable. You can leave the IT work to IBM CloudOps team 24x7x365. You can independently scale and manage the storage and compute. Highly available means multi-layer latency and fault tolerance orchestrated by Kubernetes.
Harry Rosen is here
Delivering his points, Jake Sewell, Harry Rosen, said it is a Canadian retail chain of luxury men’s clothing stores. A privately-owned company, Harry Rosen accounted for 40% of the Canadian market in high-end menswear in 2008. Harry Rosen has 18 stores and an online store in Canada.
We sit between the data assets that the company owns. We need to know the business very well, and data and information that will help us, and subsequently, our customers. We have developed an amazing data sets about our clients.
Solving enterprise amnesia!
However, Harry Rosen also has an enterprise amnesia. Sewell added that we have to solve a bunch of technical problems. We have to deal with shifting the culture of the company. We have to develop the technology underpinnings. We also have to lead the transformation.
A data-driven culture has both of them acting in sync. There are decisions to be made and strategies to be drawn up. We are prepared to ask all the tough questions from the data. Its all about building trust, and the data. When people ask questions, there will be data with replies. This also allows Harry Rosen to explore and merchandise our stores. The data-driven culture is a matter of two perspectives. We try to over provide, so people see what’s more is available.
He talked about some of the use cases they are driving at Harry Rosen. There is digital transformation going on. One is, getting data in the hands of customers, so that they can ask questions. We are creating a data lake in the data warehouse. We give the information to people, so they can use it. There’s a lot we can do with automation and ML. We need to see what we can do from the automation point of view. Oracle is also helping us. We have Oracle-specific knowledge.
Talking about Covid-19, he said that Harry Rosen shut down the non-essential services in the middle of March 2020. The advisers are working from home. They are capable of reaching out to the clients. We turned into an online retailer overnight. We also learned very quickly! Online suddenly became the only business that we were looking at.
Harry Rosen has had lots of opportunities. We are getting through. It is also driving the data-driven culture. As a data scientist, your job is in building models that the company understands. As a data science team, you wonder what do you provide now?
We needed to change every report that we were doing. People were examining online sales. We fixed that, or, at least, we tried to. We had to quickly build an entire new pipeline. We have a daily bulletin and that’s a detailed overview. This has become a holy Bible for the senior leadership. We need tight, quick and strong tactical reporting. That’s a big change for us. Now it is: what do we need to do tomorrow?
Db2 warehouses help!
One of the wonderful things about the IBM Db2 warehouses is that we don’t need to bother about maintaining it. We had some challenges in routing some of the data. We have a nice, simple workflow to work with. Db2 is a foundation for us. We had to find the data in the warehouse.
We loved the idea of a full-managed service. We have a fantastic, lean IT team. We didn’t want to add another layer to maintain the status of our database for our purpose. We can’t recall a time that Db2 has been down for us. Data is flowing into your warehouse for analysis.
Search for Covid-19 data sets
We had all the models. We have been searching for data that can explain the big dip that we are seeing. We have been searching for Covid-19 data sets. There are many negative reports. From a tactical point of view, we need to understand what is the big thing that has changed? The challenge is: trying to figure out how drastically everything has changed! We are understanding from the tiny data set about what has happened since March 18.
As an advice for the other analytics leaders: you don’t realize your weaknesses until they are stressed. Paying attention to where those immediate deficits are is critical. You have to plan for tomorrow and the next day.
People are going to approach digital differently now. How are you going to accommodate that? Your competition is also going down the same path. Keep your eyes open and watch the sore spots. There is little place for old-fashioned way of doing business in the future.