GM Financial Accelerates Analysis and Reporting with Data Virtualization
When the trillion dollar global automotive industry performs well, it has the power to lift total global market performance. And in addition to all the industries that feed automobiles coming off the assembly line is the very important financial services industry that funds consumer and commercial automobile purchasing. GM Financial alone, the financing division of General Motors, manages more than $100 billion in assets.
In today's competitive marketplace, companies like GM Financial need to make business decisions faster than ever. To do so, the entire business needs to analyze vast volumes of data on financial product and service performance providing the visibility to ensure profitability and customer satisfaction.
GM's goal is to make mobility accessible for everyone, placing people in the vehicle that best suits their wants and needs. According to Mark Promberger, commercial analytics and business intelligence manager at GM Financial, "We work very closely with General Motors. The collaboration that goes on between our finance and our manufacturing organizations is amazing." The collaboration ensures customers have exceptional service and continue to buy and enjoy GM vehicles.
Too Much Data, Not Enough Analysis
Like many large enterprises, GM Financial had enormous amounts of data to manage. Charles Spanholtz, data architecture manager at GM Financial, explains, "Today's world requires our business to make key decisions faster than ever. To complete that task, we need data visibility into product and service performance for our customers."
The company's IT department had factious and redundant data coming from the same source. One file might have a customer ID and an address, another the customer address and account information. Instead of just storing the new information, the system would store it all, making storage and access inefficient and costly. The company grew from 20 very large flat files with multiple data formats to around 40, greatly increasing the burden on the data team. Spanholtz states, “Every day you would get a lot of the same records. You don’t want to store the same customer data over and over again if it hasn’t changed."
To add to the challenge, the data model had to be designed and developed before business users could even understand what they needed. Business users couldn’t see this information until it was loaded into the data warehouse, which often had a long lead time. This meant the IT team had to clean and manage data that later would not be used by business users or business users who were searching through files trying to find the information they needed.
Spanholtz explains, "We needed a faster way to see data that didn't have to be clean and certified, but just visible. We needed something that would do that quickly so that business users could do more analysis. That was one of the big things that we were trying to accomplish with TIBCO."
Transformation In Three Parts
To meet growing analyst and end user data demands, GM Financial turned to TIBCO Data Virtualization software to fill three key needs: prototyping, operational analytics, and rapid access to new data.
According to Joel Albright, technical application specialist at GM Financial, "The TIBCO capability we found superior was the ability to quickly provide new data to our business partners and allow them to combine it with data in our data warehouse, so they could do in-depth analyses of everything available to them in a format that they were accustomed to seeing."
The GM Financial Team created a fully-governed prototyping process in collaboration with its business, project management, and IT teams, exposing live data to business partners during waterfall and agile project efforts. This capability dramatically reduced the time it took to solidify analytical requirements and greatly reduced the amount of rework required. Now, business partners know exactly what to expect in production and can develop potential decisions much earlier in the process.
According to Joshua Piers, senior analyst, commercial analytics at GM Financial, “Every new data piece we brought through helped us enhance the reporting we deliver directly to our account managers and business development team. This helps them make better decisions, which benefits the end customer experience and the dealership experience."
The GM Financial team needed more visibility into operational systems to make specific decisions, but building and governing this access—while limiting the impact on source systems—was challenging. The TIBCO Data Virtualization platform allowed the team to rapidly give operational visibility to the right audiences in a well governed manner, greatly reducing source system impact.
According to Dorothy Keith, senior business systems analyst at GM Financial, "By loading our test data files into TIBCO Data Virtualization software, we were able to let business partners determine what data they would like to have and provide it to them—as well as incorporate the data into usable reports."
Rapid Access to New Data
Analytic demands continue to grow in complexity and scope, as do the number of data sources for analysis. Using TIBCO Data Virtualization software, the GM Financial team can centralize access to more source data systems, enabling a well-governed, secure, high-performance, and simplified access pattern for reporting and analytics by end-users. The team can now rapidly onboard new source data and expose it for production integration and prototyping.
According to Mike Simmel, business system analyst manager at GM Financial, “Before, we were providing flat files, and the business would have to go through each individual file to find out what fields they wanted. With our new environment, the tool allows business users to have more access to data at one time than having to go through each flat file."
Spanholtz confirms, "Taking in the amount of data we had was a multi-month effort. With TIBCO, we did it in 24 hours. All 44 files exposed for users for querying in 24 hours—a massive ability for customers to look at their data sooner."
Better Decisions and Results
With the new platform, business users are more confident they're going to get the information they need in a fast and reliable way. Data virtualization has given the GM Financial team the ability to rapidly expose data to reporting and analytic teams, so they can pass reports and analyses to business partners faster, aiding in decision-making and allowing partners to take better advantage of market opportunities.
According to Annika Rosenblad, business systems analyst at GM Financial, “With the new solution, our customers can be more confident that they're going to get good results. And the whole team has been open to working in new ways, which was really cool to see. We are able to deliver data continuously, not in one big chunk at the end. It's exciting to try new things."
On the operational side, the GM Financial team can see errors in real time and be proactive instead of reactive. As a result, the team increased customer satisfaction with more accurate, timely reporting. They can view files in production, rather than after publication.
Spanholtz adds, “We leveraged TIBCO Data Virtualization software to rapidly onboard new systems and securely expose data for analysis and reporting from a variety of data sources in a repeatable and fully governed way. This accelerated the time to initial visibility from weeks or months to hours or days—dramatically changing decision processes."
Looking to the future, the GM Financial team is planning exciting projects to better meet the needs of its customers. It's looking to expand data virtualization capabilities to other systems, engage with APIs instead of flat files, and increase collaboration across the enterprise with better data practices.
Whether it's accelerating decision making with accurate data insights or catching errors before they become a problem, GM Financial is racing ahead of the competition with TIBCO solutions for smoother operations and better customer experiences.