Leveraging the Power of Tableau and Redshift on AWS Cloud for Better Analytics

May 21 2018
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The medical care industry has sometimes lagged behind other industries when it comes to adopting new technologies, like Big Data Analytics to make care more efficient and cost-effective. Due to the high demand for qualified specialists, the industry for years has relied on certain methodologies to help identify candidates for these types of roles which at times has been costly and not without issues.

A client of ClearScale’s, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, has attempted to solve this vexing issue by leveraging technology to provide residency- and fellowship-matching services for a variety of specialties and sub-specialties. By connecting people with organizations that need to fill these much needed roles, the client was able to use technology to make the overall process easier, more transparent, and more cost effective through the use of a centralized application service.

The Challenge

The client had built their solution using SAP Business Objects with MS SQL and it was largely successful for their customers. However, due to the complexity of maintenance, the client had to have dedicated technical staff resources to configure and maintain it. In order to support the large customer base, the client realized that this approach would not scale effectively.

They needed a way to create reports and run Big Data analytics without all of the technical complexity that came with SAP Business Objects, and they wanted a way to better visualize the data and give their customers the ability to make data-driven decisions earlier, faster, and much more accurately.

They felt that in order to be successful, they needed to move away from the licensing restrictions and costs associated to MS SQL, but they also knew they needed something other than SAP Business Objects so that the long-term support, configuration, and maintenance would be minimized.

The Solution

ClearScale evaluated the client’s request and determined that in order to meet the client’s needs they would need to move away from both MS SQL and SAP Business Objects as full BI solution but still pull data and transform it from the applications MS SQL read replica. As an alternative to MS SQL, ClearScale implemented Amazon Redshift, a fully managed data warehouse which offers the ability to analyze data using standard SQL queries with a minimal costs associated to its use. Coupled with Redshift Spectrum, the service allows queries against unstructured data should it be needed giving Redshift an advantage over traditional SQL databases.

When it came to a suitable solution that would out-perform SAP Business Objects, ClearScale implemented Tableau. With Tableau Desktop, ClearScale was able to have it connect to the client’s database, and create the necessary data mappings and associated workbooks while providing a clean user interface, ease of use in creating and running reports, and a more visually rich and broader analysis of data. When compared to SAP Business Objects, Tableau outperforms in the areas of standard and ad hoc reporting, report scheduling, data discovery and visualization, access control, and security.

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Further, Tableau gives everyday users the ability to dive deep and understand complex results and metrics through a visually rich and meaningful interface. It also allows for ease of publication of dashboards to a Tableau server so that other users can take advantage of seeing the same information. Creating queries through Tableau is easier and more intuitive than SAP Business Objects allowing for more unique ad hoc report generation by standard users and easily allowing them to modify existing reports and delivering a visually rich data analysis.

The Benefits

The end result of a Tableau-Redshift combination meant that ClearScale’s client can now help their users make data-driven decisions quicker with the added benefit of driving growth to their business by identifying areas of concern with their customer base. The implementation also means that the solution is scalable and can meet the needs of a growing customer base while continuing to provide easy-to-understand and visually relevant data analysis with minimal training required.

With AWS expertise that has been built up since 2011, ClearScale offers the clients they partner with a rich diversity of understanding and skillsets that are applied to any complex business situation. The ultimate goal of any client engagement is to recognize the intricate complexities of the need and translate those into effective requirements. The end result that is delivered is guaranteed to meet and exceed the business needs and provide a scalable and reliable solution designed to address the core issue and provide a robust platform for years to come.

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