The Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida relies on five commercial banking centers to support 52 branch locations, all of which need access to analytics applications. Like a lot of organizations, the bank wrestles with data integration spanning multiple applications.
To make that process more efficient, according to Mark Blanchette, Seacoast's vice president and director of business technology and data management, the bank decided to move away from isolated physical data warehouses. In their place, it built a single logical warehouse using a Denodo Platform that enables end users to self-service their own business intelligence needs.
"It's about the unification of our assets into one logical platform," he explains. "Being able to run analytics on one logical layer provides more flexibility."
Banchette admits that it took some effort to educate his colleagues on the value of data virtualization, as they were in the habit of using extract, transform and load (ETL) tools to move data into a data warehouse before being able to analyze it.
Thanks to data virtualization, the bank has reduced the amount of time required to create a new reporting application from what used to take between eight months and a year using ETL tools down to four or five months. Just as significantly, the amount of time needed to respond to a new type of reporting request using analytics and reporting tools from SAS Institute and Tableau Software has been reduced from two days to less than two hours.
At the moment, Seacoast Bank is supporting 32 virtual data marts, which access both internal and external data sources that generate reports needed for credit administration, risk mitigation, internal operations, and even complying with the Bank Secrecy Act in near real time.
Data virtualization is being more widely adopted these days as IT organizations respond to demands for more agility from business executives. Instead of waiting for IT departments to get them reports that could take a week or longer to create and generate, business leaders now want to interact with data in real time to make better business decisions.