Virtusa talks data warehousing and ECM

Preview from IOD reveals the need to make your information actionable

Ajoy Kumar and Srinivas Kandikonda from Virtusa Corporation, a global IT services company, discuss their experience with actionable information (and how companies are changing their environments to get it), data warehousing, and ECM solutions.

Scott Laningham (scottla@us.ibm.com), Podcast Editor, IBM developerWorks

Scott LaninghamScott Laningham, host of developerWorks podcasts, was previously editor of developerWorks newsletters. Prior to IBM, he was an award-winning reporter and director for news programming featured on Public Radio International, a freelance writer for the American Communications Foundation and CBS Radio, and a songwriter/musician.



18 October 2010

developerWorks: This is the developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. My guests are Ajoy Kumar and Srinivas Kandikonda, both with Virtusa Corporation, a global IT services company that provides consulting, technology, and outsourcing services. Ajoy is director and head of global DWBI practice [data warehousing and business intelligence] and Srinivas is senior director and head of global ECM practice [enterprise content management] with Virtusa. Welcome to you both.

Ajoy: Thank you, Scott. Glad to be here.

Srinivas: Thank you, Scott. This is Srinivas. Glad to be here today.

developerWorks: Wonderful. I wanted to ask you, how does data warehousing and ECM interplay with one another? That's kind of an upfront question we should cover here.

Srinivas: Sure ... yes ... that's a good question to start with. We at Virtusa see great value in the concept of actionable information which essentially means transforming the content metadata and its related intelligence into analytics as it progresses through the content life cycle.

Actionable information

Actionable information means you have the necessary information immediately available in order to deal with the situation at hand. It is one-half of the concepts that make up the actionable information logistics technique: The supply of immediately available information to users that is necessary for them to deal with the situation at hand. The other conceptual input is information logistics, the supply of information to users (or the sum of the concepts, methods, and technologies used to optimize content creation throughout the information supply and delivery process.

We believe this enables organizations to be more responsive and make business decisions in real time without having to wait to act on the accumulated data repository and only having to connect the dots for making business decisions after the fact.

developerWorks: Now what about the ways in which businesses are reducing the costs of managing with, I'm sure with this is an increasingly vast content situation. You know, what steps do they have to take?

Srinivas: Yes that's right. We are in front of many organizations in the current economic situations and what we have found out was that there are several initiatives that the enterprises have focused on for managing the content and leveraging it to its full potential and transforming it to actionable information with the sole objective of minimizing the cost of managing it:

  • One of the examples of what we have seen in the field include the rationalization and consolidation of multiple ECM systems that are present in organizations: Most companies have made the acquisitions and they have grown by acquisitions so then there is a big need for consolidation rationalization. Number one example.
  • Number two, enterprises are also evaluating the newer technology — such as cloud and software as a service options — versus the traditional in-house way of doing things which provides a great way for them to manage the cost.
  • Another one that we have seen is companies are expanding into international markets through a singular globalized website rather than having to create the multiple sites of each language, thus reducing the cost of multiple content creations and also how to manage them globally.
  • And the one interesting thing most recently what we have seen is the increasing amount of interest in leveraging the social networking and the social media tools to manage the explosion of the social content and channeling it effectively towards organizational benefits such as either improving customer satisfaction or increasing revenue or something that is is more tangible.

developerWorks: It's really interesting ... the social media technologies really are starting to seem to be a game changer, aren't they? I mean, they were certainly a novelty for a while, but in all of these conversations I'm hearing people talk about that now.

Srinivas: Yes, absolutely. I mean, that's one of the key topics that has been coming up more recently and the companies are wondering either they're behind the curve or ahead of the curve or where they want to be in meeting the needs around the social media right now.

InfoSphere DataStage

IBM InfoSphere DataStage integrates on demand with a high performance parallel framework across multiple and high volumes of data sources and target applications. It supports the collection, integration, and transformation of large volumes of data, with data structures ranging from simple to highly complex, on distributed and mainframe platforms. It supports real-time data integration and completes connectivity between any data source and any application.

developerWorks: Ajoy, what are you seeing in technical trends around current data integration platforms, for example, and talk about how it impacts IBM® InfoSphere® DataStage® upgrade and migration, if you would.

Ajoy: Well, as Srini said, enterprises are increasingly looking at cost optimization. We are seeing increasing trends in the data warehouse side, too, looking at enterprises consolidating their data warehouse platforms. And as part of the consolidation, they are also looking at reusability optimization of their infrastructure.

And one of the technical trends that we are also seeing is enterprises are looking at moving to Linux® as a platform. And again, this Linux platform migration also helps them to keep the lower cost of ownership from a perspective of the overall data integration platform.

We think that these two trends are major factors when enterprises are looking at DataStage upgrade and migration in addition to them looking at the data integration platform upgrade itself.

developerWorks: So is that ... are those the key business drivers for enterprises looking in this direction or are there some other things that you want to mention as well as challenges that are always forefront in their minds on this?

Ajoy: Well, if you look at the DataStage enterprise, it is a powerful, scalable data integration platform that helps enterprises support integration, transformation of complex and high volume of data.

Also, the enterprise, DataStage enterprise, helps them with the real-time data integration to support the growing needs of enterprises for, like high volumes of data.

We think that the key business driver for migration is supported by enterprises looking at moving to the new architecture that provides them with a lot of new capabilities to have a scalable platform. We think that this migration will happen with the very strong expert knowledge to help them with the migration.

Virtusa has a few focused offerings that helps clients look at moving to DataStage enterprise 8.X with their upgrades and with their migration and consolidation, as I said earlier, for the new platforms.

developerWorks: Can you talk a bit about some of your experiences with clients in implementing IBM DataStage solutions?

Ajoy: Sure, absolutely. At a high level, if you look at the enterprises, they are looking at improving the enterprise data warehouse performance. Well, you ... as you very well know, enterprise data warehouses typically have shrinking SLA batch windows [more on optimizing batch windows, PDF] and implementing these batch windows require you to scale the platforms.

And obviously you know you're looking at businesses expanding constantly and this only helps them to have more data and also that also helps to reduce the SLA windows. It is a constant challenge for our technical folks to meet the SLA windows and also to ensure that they are able to support these growing business needs.

You're looking at the parallel architecture as a nice way for IT and the DataStage team or the information management team to help them meet the stringent SLA windows. The new DataStage features such as data pipelining [the logistical problem of ensuring that the required data are at the required location at the right time], dynamic data partitioning, parallel access ... some of these features help our clients implement the parallel architecture in a more effective way and take advantage of the new design to help them reduce the SLAs.

So we see this as some of the key benefits of implementing DataStage 8.X and above. But the implementation of these new requirements need a very planned and phased implementation so that the teams can show a tangible business value for the business users. So you're looking at like overall implementing our DataStage in a very planned and effective way so that they ... the IT teams ... can show concrete benefits to the end users.

developerWorks: We've talked about performance, scalability, extensibility. What other key functionalities enable the business users directly here, Ajoy?

Ajoy: Well if you look at InfoSphere, the foundation tools helps you with a lot of integrated components. And it allows organizations to reduces and manage complexity by sharing common business terminology. Obviously that's a big, big benefit for our business which also helps them with implementation of not only with the foundation tools but also with master data management with others.

It helps them with improved business agility, which gives them better ROI. Obviously when you implement foundation tools, it helps them with the end-to-end integration.

One example I can quote is the business glossary which helps business use a common terminology across the enterprise. It also helps them lay the foundation for implementing the master data management which is a key initiative for most enterprises. We believe that implementing this comprehensive set of tools for enterprises provides very accurate actionable information to business uses. Virtusa, as Srini said earlier, is very big on actionable information, accurate actionable information for enterprises that helps businesses run effectively and more cost effectively.

developerWorks: Accurate, actionable information. Those have to be key words that are becoming more and more important to businesses every day, I'm sure.

Ajoy: That is correct, Scott.

developerWorks: I've been talking with Ajoy Kumar and Srinivas Kandikonda of Virtusa Corporation. Virtusa will be at the Information On Demand Global Conference 2010 [October 2010 conference | current conference] which is happening the end of October in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. And you all will have a booth in the expo, I'm sure, isn't that correct?

Ajoy: That's right.

Srinivas: That is correct, Scott.

developerWorks: Will either of you be there at the show?

Ajoy: This is Ajoy, I will be there in the show. Please come and visit us at the Virtusa booth. We would love to show you some of the capabilities of Virtusa's offerings and also give you a tour of our capabilities also.

Srinivas: Absolutely. Along with Ajoy ... this is Srini ... I'll be there too to share with you the ECM service capabilities that we provide on the IBM platform.

developerWorks: Wonderful, Ajoy and Srinivas. Thank you both for your time today and I look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.

Ajoy: Thanks Scott.

Srinivas: Thank you, Scott, for having us.

developerWorks: Again, all of this going on at the Information On Demand Global Conference 2010 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort. That is October 24th through 28 coming up shortly.

If you cannot attend, you can follow some of the action right here on developerWorks. We'll be live streaming keynote speeches each day as well as a couple of hours of interviews from the expo floor.

So you can follow that on my blog on developerWorks or other spots on the developerWorks Web site. This has been the developerWorks podcast. I'm Scott Laningham. Talk to you next time.

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