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Importance of cloud-based data science & business intelligence for companies looking to understand their customers and data.

Cloud Hosted Data Science Will Transform Businesses More Quickly in 2019

One of the foremost benefits of adopting a cloud-based data science & BI solution is that it’s inherent ability to enable a self-service model, allowing the user much more control over the data, its parameters, along with the queries used to create the report that will ultimately result in a business decision. Utilizing self-service BI allows for more of the decision-making capabilities to be readily available at a moment’s notice, and shareable across the enterprise instantaneously. Cruz Street has successfully implemented this model for both mid & enterprise businesses alike, delivering critical value-generating insights on its scalable, cloud-based data science platform at a cost that that any size organization would appreciate. A critical differentiator in Cruz Street’s data science offering, is the enhanced integration of the API, micro-services, data and BI layers, which were built based on AWS Big Data best-practice models. Cruz Street’s data science solutions make data ingestion, transformation and analysis faster and easier than ever.

Cruz Street partners with AWS in 2019, Clients Reap the Benefits

Cruz Street is a digital transformation and data science on-demand company that provides solutions to challenges that businesses face in light of the continuous advancements of technology, with the ability to centralize fragmented data from many different sources from inside and outside the organization. In a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the new MyCDO data management platform works with Amazon QuickSight, the new business intelligence solution competing head to head with other more well known tools in the BI space. QuickSight provides fast, cloud-powered BI services that allow users to create and publish interactive dashboards, putting predictive analytics and visualization at the fingertips of the business executive. MyCDO gives organizations the ability to unlock the power within their data to gain competitive advantages. Cruz Street’s solution enables companies to have a “Chief Data Officer On-Demand”, without the need for expensive training and the steep learning curve experienced with data science transformation initiatives. Cruz Street’s partnership with AWS allows for a smoother delivery of QuickSight solutions. Today, QuickSight provides blazing-fast performance, delivering stunning visualizations and dashboards, at an affordable, pay-per-session price. Amazon continues to push innovations down the pipeline, and soon, MyCDO will bundle-in the newly-released machine learning features of QuickSight to perform forecasting, auto-narrating, and anomaly detection.

Cruz Street Helps Value Generating Organizations Transform

In the second half of 2018, Cruz Street had the privilege to work with two very different organizations that both had the same problems: underutilized data.  The first organization was a well known global publisher focused on launching digital educational products. The second organization, Volunteer New York! (VNY), is a medium-sized, nonprofit organization with the mission of “helping people help others,” and like any nonprofit, they needed to maximize their resources. Both organizations, although different in size and focus, faced similar data challenges. 

VNY experienced disparate data sources, poor customer data visibility, broken lead flow, and little-to-no insight of any value. Cruz Street mapped out their current data ecosystem, points of breakage, and opportunities for growth. Through existing customer data and the use of 3rd-party data enrichment, Cruz Street was able to bring all of the components to one source. Cruz Street also served as advisors and solutions architects for various components, including customer and product data modeling, database solutions, and predictive modeling. Together, Cruz Street enhanced the organization’s ability to generate and prioritize lead flow, which would allow for greater gains in marketing efforts.

CRISP-DM Methodology

Cruz Street approaches data science by implementing the Cross Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) [1], which provides a fluid framework for data-driven solutions. The diagram below illustrates the flow of this method.

In solving data issues for VNY, it was important to get a better understanding of the challenges they were facing. Several different databases were being used, including one for donors and another for volunteers, just to name a couple. The next step is for our data science team to understand and enhance the data. Once the data has been refined and optimized, the modeling begins. Finally, during the evaluation stage, our analysts review all findings and insights with our customer to ensure that the model achieves the business objectives it was meant to address. When the model has been thoroughly vetted, it is deployed, which is sometimes as simple as generating a report or as complex as implementing a repeatable data mining process. For VNY, Cruz Street created a comprehensive QuickSight Dashboard containing visualizations for all the insights generated by our data science team, to be shared with VNY via our Cruz Street portal.

Smarter Data, Smarter Decisions: A Big Data Case Study from Cruz Street

“Volunteer New York! has gained valuable knowledge about our volunteers and donors thanks to Cruz Street. Through their work using AWS and Quicksight, we will be able to apply the findings and increase our effectiveness working with volunteers and for our community.” Alisa Kesten, Managing Director – Volunteer New York!

Cruz Street built an end-to-end solution for VNY, powered by QuickSight and its latest cutting-edge features. Today, in production, VNY drops their latest data file into S3 through SFTP. This is the “As-Is” data layer. Previously, VNY’s business intelligence had to end here. Today, this is where their BI pipeline begins.

The “Governed” data layer is the beginning of VNY’s data lake, built exclusively with Amazon technology in accordance with the cloud provider’s data lake principles. Partnerships with 3rd-party data cleansers have produced a rapid pipeline from raw to stable data, through extract, transfer and load (ETL) procedures.

Finally, the “Golden” data layer radically improved VNY’s ecosystem by maintaining a single source of data. It is housed in Amazon’s Aurora service, a fast and secure relational database. There is now a single, cloud-based, golden record across the organization.

The API and micro-services layers work in tandem to interface between the Cruz Street MyCDO client portal and the QuickSight data analysis visualizations, which are embedded / displayed directly within the MyCDO portal.

The magic truly happens in Amazon’s QuickSight, where interactive business intelligence dashboards are automatically generated. These rich and eye-popping visuals have absolutely amazed us and our clients, and have provided VNY strategic valuable insights beyond what they ever had before. By signing into their MyCDO portal, they can now see the story their data has always been telling, thanks to Cruz Street’s solution, powered by QuickSight.

With the MyCDO platform, our clients such as VNY simply drop in their data and reap the benefits of highly-sophisticated data science, along with stunning visualizations. Cruz Street’s mission is to bring data science to the masses, with QuickSight being a key component of the cloud-based MyCDO platform. Through better, faster actionable insights, business executives make better decisions.

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