WHA Group is Thailand’s leader in integrated logistics and industrial facilities. Their core business is divided into 4 categories: Logistics, Industrial Development, Utilities & Power and Digital Platform.
Neos IT Services, together with its strategic partner, Grant Thornton was commissioned to lead a WHA group wide digital transformation. The key area of interest was that of data, data usage and the implementation of a powerful analytics capability.
Initially, Neos IT and Grant Thornton Thailand interviewed numerous WHA Group executives to understand their challenges. The key findings identified several opportunities for the WHA Group in the areas of data management, digital transformation, and reporting.
The interview process revealed, that although many of the business processes were already digitized, there remained key areas such as manual input, introducing errors which reduced the reliability of analytical dashboards. Manual input increased the lead time to present analytics. This slowed down the company wide decision-making process. Hence the data had to be cleaned and enriched prior to be used for reporting. Many WHA Group entities spent valuable time transforming, cleaning, and enriching data using Excel.
Data Security was another major topic. Data was mostly transferred from person to person or department via emails and personal exchanges. Data assets dispersed across the organization increases the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. The digitization of business processes would be the key driver of improving data quality.
Roadmap to success,
A future-proof data and information layer
Neos IT proposed the implementation of a joint data lake and information layer as a priority to address both manual input and data security issues.
The implementation of a data lake with an effective data factory has enabled the WHA Group to securely combine and optimize data from various applications. It has also provided decision making flexibility while ensuring that investment in technology is focused on delivering business value.
The digitized approach recommended by Neos, to capture data at the source and use of automated ETL capabilities, resulted in WHA meeting their data compliancy requirements. Utilization of the Neos recommended data layer to aggregate operational data in relation to structured customer data, improved WHA’s market demand understanding dramatically. It had the effect of highlighting new ways of raising revenue.
Neos IT showed, through a proof of concept (PoC), that the process of collecting data can be automated at the source to avoid manual monthly data clean up and manipulation. This proved that the Neos recommendations allowed accurate, timely reporting for the WHA Group management.
In the PoC phase WHA Group and Neos IT staff tested the concept and introduced an automated, interactive, pixel perfect report using Power BI.
- Neos IT introduced the concept of automated data collection in a data lake versus manual entry and insecure transmission via email or hand deliveries.
- The raw data was anonymized and pulled into the data lake. This process left a minor level of manual format effort to get the raw or semi processed data in shape.
- The data was automatically processed to prepare it for reporting with Power BI. The new Power BI report was aimed to mimic WHA Group’s existing report for the same use case.
- Neos created a roadmap including commercial viability for a Power BI, Azure hosted solution for the WHA Group Business Insights platform.
- The PoC provided for automated data cleansing and enrichment using an Azure data factory.
- An Analytics DB using Azure Cosmos DB was successfully deployed to enable Self Service BI reporting and faster interactivity at a fraction of the cost.
- Row level data security was enabled using Power BI and Office 365 access controls.
- Low cost, secure data storage was achieved for long term retention and retrieval of business data.
Outcome | Results:
A company like WHA Group needs to make decisions based on Information from accurate, secure data all the time. The company needs an overview of the information generated from data of the whole group to get a holistic picture, test and evaluate business scenarios, and make sound business decisions.
Neos IT introduced the concept of collecting and securing data at the source in a data lake versus collecting data via email or by hand. This included the automation of data pipelines for extracting, cleansing and enriching data into valid business information. Manual human intervention leading to errors was eliminated.
The introduced concepts of collecting and securing the data in a data lake did more than saving just time and efforts. It provided the business analysts and managers access to automated, active reporting of valid business information in real-time. The WHA Group can now focus on internal and external customers, no longer tied down by manual, cumbersome insecure reporting processes. The “self-service” report and dashboard creation allow the WHA Group business users to generate their own data analyses and customer insights into valid business information without IT department dependencies.
Neos IT ensured that the data lake and the modern business insights platform was delivered at an optimal total cost of ownership (TCO).
After the introduction of the data lake, the WHA Group can now bring analytics-driven insights, to market much faster while significantly reducing the cost and complexity of compiling and managing their data.
Data lake and cloud adoption
The adoption of data lake will help WHA Group be opened to valid business information based new data sources. The source data can be structured, semi structured or even unstructured and still be a destination for the data lake. The data lake also makes it easy for data processing engines to generate valid business information without having to make several copies of the same data. This reduces cost and time to market.
“A well-structured data layer will be a significant enabler of our transformation journey. It will not only show an impact on efficiency and compliance but also help us to better understand our customers and enable upselling”Jareeporn Jarukornsakul | Chairman and Group CEO WHA Corporation PCL
“The strong, ongoing commitment of WHA’s leadership to changing the way business gets done, let Neos IT go so much further in the digital transformation journey and achieve transformation success”Hendrik van den Berg | Managing Director, Neos IT