Suntel is Sri Lanka's fastest growing telecommunication provider with an all-digital network that connects thousands of residential customers and businesses ranging from corner shops to the biggest corporate names in the country. The company needed a faster and more efficient way to access and analyze its large and ever-growing volume of current and historical data in order to provide optimal service to its customers and to maximize its revenue and margins without impacting the performance of the production database. It found its solution in Sybase IQ.
Sybase IQ Facilitates Drive to Become a More Knowledge-Based Society
Suntel is Sri Lanka's fastest growing telecommunication provider, with an all-digital network that connects residential customers and businesses across the country. In all, the company has about 500,000 customers.
The company puts the latest technology, innovative thinking and an unprecedented service commitment into customizing telecommunication solutions that meet the most sophisticated demands of its customers. Combining inventive thinking and deployment of leading-edge technology, Suntel aspires to become a leading facilitator in the social transformation of Sri Lanka into a knowledge based information society.
Historically, Suntel has relied on an Oracle relational database to process transactions and power its billing application. It has used the same repository as its source of data for generating a variety of business reports and supporting business intelligence activities. Over time, however, as the production database has grown in size, the company found that it could not serve both purposes without experiencing performance degradation. Additionally, Suntel found itself constrained to relying upon historical data that spanned a period of just six months.
Production Database Overload Hampers Business Insight
“We reached a point,” explains Tariq Marikar, Director of Information Technology and Solutions Delivery, “at which we were seeing a 20 percent overload on our production database, which was unacceptable to us. Additionally, we wanted to be able to run reports and queries against years of historical data rather than just a few months. We knew we needed to create a separate repository – a data warehouse – specifically designated and designed for reporting and analytics in order to solve this problem.”
As it considered the criteria for a database to power this repository, Suntel determined it needed a very stable and reliable analytics server designed specifically to deliver high performance and rich functionality for routine reporting as well as ad hoc business intelligence queries. It also had to be capable of delivering this performance against very large data volumes – in this instance nearly a terabyte of data spanning several years or more of historical data.
“We were also looking for a database that supported our telecom industry data model,” Marikar adds. “Beyond the database itself, we were looking for a company that could provide strong local support. And, of course, affordability was also a consideration.”
Sybase IQ Best Choice for Suntel Reporting and Analytics Requirements
Suntel considered a number of options before choosing Sybase IQ to power its data warehouse.
Sybase IQ is an analytics server designed specifically for analytics, data warehousing and business intelligence environments. Unlike conventional relational databases that are designed primarily for processing transactions, Sybase IQ employs a column-oriented, grid-based architecture, patented data compression, and advanced query optimizer to deliver unmatched performance, flexibility, and economy in even the most challenging reporting and analytics environments. Sybase IQ users report significantly faster query performance than can be achieved with traditional databases – improvements from 10 to 1000 times faster – even as thousands of users and years worth of data are added to the environment, and regardless of the complexity of the queries and reports.
“We chose Sybase IQ because it met all of our functional and performance expectations,” said Marikar. “We found Sybase IQ to be the most stable of the platforms we evaluated. And we were very comfortable with Sybase’s local support organization here in Colombo.”
Suntel deployed Sybase IQ on an HP server running Linux. It loaded the data it required for its reporting and business intelligence needs using the Sybase ETL functionality included in Sybase IQ. Sybase ETL extracts data from multiple heterogeneous data sources and loads it into Sybase IQ, using a comprehensive set of transformation functions. Sybase ETL includes change data capture (CDC) capability using Replication Server as the CDC agent as well as support for Extract, Load, Transform (ELT) flows, where transformation is handled by the Sybase IQ engine.
Impressive Business Results and a Future-Proofed Analytics Platform
Suntel’s Sybase IQ-powered data warehouse is up and running and delivering impressive business results.
The company’s production database is no longer used for reporting and analytical purposes, thereby eliminating the performance drag Suntel had been experiencing. IQ’s superior performance has dramatically slashed reporting and query response times. For example, a report that used to take 12 hours to run, now takes only three hours. The company has experienced similar performance improvements on other reports and queries, which allow the company to have much better and more timely visibility into company operations. The ability to run reports and queries against years of data versus the six months of data it previously had access to also provides managers in various company departments greater insights into customers, their usage patterns, billing and payment histories and behaviors.
“Sybase IQ allows us to understand our business and our customers better. We have access to more comprehensive and more current data and are able to identify trends and anticipate emerging customer needs,” says Marikar. “It’s very important to our business to be able to view large volumes of historical data, which IQ makes possible. It’s compression capability has meant that the data residing on our production database only requires about one-third the space on IQ. Also, Sybase IQ’s scalability means we can support increasing numbers of users as we leverage the value of this data in the future. For example, we’re exploring ways to exploit this data trove to develop ways to customize the customer experience across different sized customers and also to implement programs to cross-sell and upsell our services.
“Our decision to deploy Sybase IQ has proven to be a very good one,” adds Marikar. “It is an extremely effective, cost-effective carrier-grade technology and has definitely added value to our business. And we expect it will continue to add value in the future.”