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Delivering an Amazon Redshift Cloud Database with Minimal Disruption and Expense for a Leading Retailer

Since 2010, a leading apparel company used a CRM database solution hosted in an on premises Netezza environment at Merkle. In 2017, the hardware was reaching its end of life, and the company was at a crossroads when considering the investment to update. The Merkle team engaged with the retailer to better understand their current challenges across both IT and marketing to define the best plan forward.

The Challenge – Maintaining integrity and minimizing platform interruption

After evaluating the leaders in the space, Amazon RedShift was selected as the tool that would be most compatible with the existing solution, third-party tool integrations, and end user skill sets. The company had a tremendous amount of data to store and was looking to identify areas to optimize performance where possible as part of the migration. Given that the solution was meeting the current business needs, the retailer wanted to leverage as much of the existing solution as possible while addressing the end-of-life infrastructure situation and providing more cost-effective scalability. Ultimately, they decided on a ‘lightly touch refactor’ implementation from the on premises hosted solution to a more innovative cloud environment.

Picking the right cloud partner

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 175 fully featured services from data centers globally. Millions of customers, including fast-growing startups, large enterprises, and leading government agencies use AWS to lower costs, become more agile and innovate faster. Brands choose AWS for their open, scalable, and cost-effective cloud solutions for enabling real-time analytics and data streaming technology that enables users to ingest, process, and analyze large volumes of high-velocity data from a variety of sources in real time.

Merkle knows marketing

The retailer chose Merkle as their preferred AWS partner due to their existing relationship and Merkle’s 32 years of experience helping top global brands deliver personalized customer experiences based on data-driven, customer-centric strategies. Merkle’s experience lies in the intersection of technology, data, analytics, and partner relationships to deliver the experience-based marketing strategies that build enduring customer relationships and drive competitive advantage for the brands served.

Forward thinking

The primary objective was to maintain integrity and functionality of the existing system to ultimately deliver a cloud-based database with minimal negative impact to business users and process. The client organization had always been strong at collecting and analyzing data to better understand its customers, but at this time was struggling with its broader customer strategy and how to activate on the amount of data it created across all channels. It needed a platform that could scale as it defined the new customer strategy and expanded its marketing technology stack in the coming years.

The Outcome – Reduced runtime and greater efficiencies

The Merkle team was able to successfully migrate the solution from Netezza in approximately nine months and provide the company with a more scalable solution that enables growth, while keeping maintenance costs flat by reducing hardware investment with little disruption to the brand’s users.

The solution allowed the retailer to implement and reinforce a future-proof technology solution with Amazon Redshift to support faster compute times and scalable storage. Additionally, the solution delivered:

  • A reduced total update runtime after migrating to an AWS solution by 30%.
  • Additional efficiency by natively providing functionality to gather performance statistics and provide query execution plan analysis. Previously, these tasks were executed manually.
  • Fast database backup runtimes, quick restore times and an extremely short duration needed for patching and maintenance.
  • Reduced service interruptions once updates were complete.

The open, scalable, and cost-effective cloud solution will continue to position the retailer for success as they look to enable more real-time interaction with their CRM solution. They are positioned to drive more personalized channel strategies using their first-party data to drive better customer experiences.

Read more on Merkle's partnership with AWS here.