Nationwide Financial Services, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides long-term savings and retirement products in the United States. The company operates in three segments: Individual Investments, Retirement Plans, and Individual Protection offering a variety of investment products including annuity products, income products, and investment advisory services and investment life insurance products. All three segments were run on the Teradata platform.
Systech was selected for the conversion project to migrate the Data Warehouse platform from the existing Teradata platform to the newly acquired Netezza Data Warehouse appliance. The project involved moving the data itself as well as “re-wiring” all Data integration, reporting, application interfaces and any other systems which touched the existing data warehouse.
- The complexity of multiple data source systems and identification of all components of an alternate solution that required design change due to conversion and identification of the impact of those changes
- Incomplete documentation in existing processes such as data load, reporting and interface processes
- In-flight project management (Keeping development going on in existing infrastructure while converting and managing the integration process)
- Database “re-modeling”, isolation and confirmation of data model re-usability and potential issues
- Confirm re-usability of existing approach and/or alternate strategy
- Ability to generate a balanced test plan that met critical test criteria in the allotted budget and service hours available
- Testing represented a major and complex element as the end result of the project interconnected so many technologies, addressed a significant amount of data across the organization and impacted a wide group of end users
Systech executed a managed conversion of the entire Nationwide Financial Data Warehouse environment. The financial data was stored in a staging area in various data marts. The migration process consisted an "ETL" process migration and the "Reporting" environment migration. The ETL process involved the application code and processes that moved the data on an ongoing basis into the data warehouse and various data marts. And the reporting environment involved the applications that interfaces to the data warehouse.
The change of database platform from Teradata and Netezza has many impacts on the physical structures of the database schema, ranging from naming standards, column data types and object functionality such as writing into a table through a view. The design took into account all such factors in arriving at an alternate schema design that would be completely supported by Netezza and at the same time provide the exact same functionality as the current Teradata environment. The processes that perform data movement across the systems use Teradata specific functionality to perform bulk loads, faster exports or some specific data transformations. A host of such functions and functionalities were identified as part of design phase and an alternate solution was designed to provide the exact same functionality in the new Netezza environment.
The reporting applications interact with the Teradata environment through a series of reporting tools and technology. The interaction of these tools with the Teradata environment happens in a number of ways, some tools offer semantic layers to mask the underlying database schema with a business definition. As far as reporting applications are concerned the two major design factors that were implemented are Netezza specific functions and connectivity mechanism.
Systech's success at Nationwide Financial was by implementing cost savings methods and performance improvement. Reporting performance improvement in Business Objects was substantial - a 65% reduction in processing time.
Systech went in with a complete approach and methodology around conversion that managed a complex scope. Despite disruptions for many reasons, the dedication from the team and management really was apparent. The teams worked incredible hours to make deadlines and complete the project. The team also accomplished an amazing amount of tedious testing through teamwork.