Lights on data modernization podcast
Bob Collie – Chief Technology Advisor at Zmclp & Board Member at IT Renew.
Bob attended Vanderbilt University pursuing a degree in economics. He currently represents ZMC on the Board of IT Renew. He works with the management teams at AdThrive, which was formerly known as Dynasty Sports and Entertainment and Education Networks of America. He has over 20 years of experience in leadership, strategy and technology implementation. He has also served in a variety of roles including as Chief Technology Officer and as Senior Vice President of Strategy with Education Networks of America, PsiNet, and Tele-link Corporation.
Founded in 2001, ZMC has deep experience in executing private equity investments in the media & communications industry. ZMC’s investment philosophy is one of passion and partnership. Having a great conviction for investments, ZMC works closely with its portfolio companies to build value collectively. ITRenew is one of ZMC’s portfolio companies and for more than two decades, has been maximizing the lifetime value of data center technology through innovative circular economic models and a comprehensive portfolio of decommissioning and data security services, edge and component products, and rack-scale compute and storage solutions. With operations in all major data center markets, ITRenew delivers best-of-breed decommissioning, data security, engineering, and remanufacturing services on a truly global basis. Based in Silicon Valley, ITRenew has continuously innovated, designed, and customized solutions in collaboration with the largest hyper-scale data centers in the world.
Effective data-driven decisions were needed to be made as the business is focused on circular economy, environmental sustainability and good governance, the primary goal being minimum amount of e-waste, excellent e-waste management and optimized outcomes for clients.
IT Renew has an internal proprietary system called Wits. It is based on SQL server and helps validate what comes in. The company has to ensure that data goes back to the clients who are actually furnishing them the equipment on a consignment basis to ensure that their equipment is marketed well.
Data is the single most important factor that helps IT Renew know, measure, and analyse its equipment to maximise value for clients and the company itself. All this data is present in the underlying systems which have a layer of Microsoft Business Central 365 over it. The sales team uses Salesforce to understand products and the work done with the hyperscalers. The main challenge is to maintain a balance between supply, demand and pricing. Accordingly, the company faced the following challenges:
How Lyftrondata helped?
The company principally uses Lyftrondata for data transformation. Lyftrondata seamlessly connected all components together. It helped to eliminate the time consuming process of building custom codes and training the team.
With Lyftrondata, their team in Tableau easily create automated data pipelines from Business Central, Salesforce, and Witz to gather and analyse data quickly. The work of the data analysts was simplified to a great extent as the gap between the data source and data destination was bridged by Lyftrondata and helped give incremental loads, to which Bob further stated-
“There is a good amount of capacity and capability to actually kind of get ad-hoc queries within the Lyftrondata environment. Lyftrondata environment allows us to do the incremental updates on a straightforward basis.”
“Lyftrondata team already had good adapters for Salesforce so we were able to get there in a matter of minutes frankly.Once our team connected to the salesforce instance and got the security credentials, we didn’t need a data architect or an ETL developer. What we have is somewhere between a data analyst and a BI analyst. This team was able to suck in the data directly from Salesforce and create very meaningful reports against it in our data warehouse in a day.” –Bob Collie
” We just had to define the endpoint which was business central to find the endpoint which is Salesforce and then tell it to refresh its metadata inside of Lyftrondata and that entire catalogue of data became available and at that point moving it from there to our data warehouse was really a point-and-click solution. No code was written on our end.”
Further, Bob explains that
“Our challenge was finding Lyftrondata in the space and once we’ve now found it, it’s really an integral part of what we’re doing. We’re principally using Lyftrondata for data transformation, however, we’re aware of the other capabilities it has and that was part of why we chose it.”
Lyftrondata helped extract, transform, and load data into the target warehouse effortlessly. Also, manual efforts of report drafting and maintenance were automated to save time. Data transformation was no more a hurdle as the entire process took a few minutes, irrespective of the number of rows and columns. The ETL architecture aligned perfectly with the needs of the company while working with the cloud. Moreover, it was very easy to make changes to the data and insert updates about particular products without disturbing the workflow.
The role of data engineers is changing because of tools such as Lyftrondata, I feel it’s kind of putting these capabilities in the hands of non-technical individuals. –Bob Collie