Manager of Applications and GIS, City of Markham
City of Markham replaces custom framework with SAS® Data Management to better serve residents
The city of Markham is a fast-growing municipality, with more than 60 essential business applications to serve its residents. To better integrate and synchronize data across its major business applications, Markham replaced its own custom-built data integration framework with SAS® Enterprise Data Integration Server. This solution offers more than a deep integration framework; it provides a platform that enables growth in many other data management areas, as well as flexibility for future expansion – allowing the city to better serve its constituents.
Having an accurate view of our organization, our customers and our business environment allows us to optimize service delivery, mitigate risks and reduce costly operational inefficiencies.
As a growing, diverse municipality of more than 310,000 residents, the city of Markham in Ontario, Canada, needed to integrate and synchronize data across its major business applications to better serve constituents.
"Good data is the basis for solid business decisions. Having an accurate view of our organization, our customers and our business environment allows us to optimize profitability, mitigate risks and reduce costly operational inefficiencies," said Teodor Tecsa, Manager of Applications and GIS with the city of Markham.
Markham has more than 60 business applications, including customer relationship management, financials, human resources, operations and property management, as well as a multitude of desktop applications. It also has multiple server platforms (Windows, SUN Solaris and AIX) hosting Oracle, MS SQL and DB2 databases.
The ITS department had developed an in-house data integration framework for its business applications. While this framework met the initial demand, it was unable to address the growing need for data integration and synchronization across the major business applications that Markham uses.
"We realized we needed to take our custom-built data integration framework to the next level, which would allow us to create a platform for future growth in other areas of data management, such as data marts, master data management and data federation," said Tecsa.
After developing a comprehensive RFP that took into account a scalable platform for future growth, Markham chose SAS Enterprise Data Integration Server over other solutions (including open-source products). The SAS solution provided the best overall value for the city.
"The solution from SAS gave us much more than a deep integration framework –it gave us a platform upon which we can grow in other data management areas. It provides us with a flexible architecture for the future," said Tecsa.
With SAS training and support, Markham developed standard templates, enforced data standards and created a single entry point for interactions. It is also planning to build a master data management solution for residents that would use the existing standardized addresses and other data across business applications. Since there were only two people dedicated to the project, training and support were essential. "SAS has a very good support group. We had many questions that were answered in a professional and timely manner," said Misbah Irfan, Data Management Lead.
Markham uses SAS® DataFlux® software to deduplicate and standardize data across several business applications, including CRM. The solution consolidates address attributes from source systems into a single record, providing a unified and consistent view of addresses across major applications involving several Oracle and SQL Server databases.
The city has also started using SAS Metadata Server, which collects metadata about all connected databases into a SAS repository. Its metadata management program is still in the initial stages but is expected to provide a complete and accurate picture of the structure and content of its data.
"Now we have a standard platform for multiple data management areas," said Irfan. "It's a highly scalable solution, with a highly reusable code in comparison with our previous framework." The result: significantly reduced production time – up to 40 percent, according to Irfan – for an increasing number of applications requiring data integration, as well as improved code documentation and overall management.
"We want to completely replace our old framework and move to a higher level of data integration, and now we have the tools to do that. The SAS platform provides a foundation for our information management strategy and will help us develop a business intelligence strategy going forward," said Tecsa. "Ultimately, this means better decision making and better service for the residents of the city we serve."
The city of Markham had a growing need for data integration and synchronization to provide a unified and consistent view of its data across its major business applications.
Replacing its own custom-built data integration framework with SAS Enterprise Data Integration Server gave the city much more than a deep integration framework – it provided a platform that enables growth in other data management areas and a flexible architecture for the future.
The city of Markham now has a standard platform that spans multiple data management areas, reducing production time by up to 40 percent for applications requiring data integration.