Using Data Virtualization to Eliminate Data Proliferation at Data Summit 2016

Companies are facing a growing problem: Data is everywhere, clogging up systems and preventing enterprises from gaining meaningful insights. Data virtualization is a way to reduce data proliferation and ensure that all consumers are working from a single source.

At Data Summit 2016 BJ Fesq, chief architect and chief data officer of CIT Group, a financial holding company with more than $65 billion in financing and leasing assets, and Ravi Shankar, CMO of Denodo, discussed how CIT leveraged Denodo data virtualization. “Customers are grappling with different sources and getting the data out of them,” Shankar said.

The Problem

Financial services companies are experiencing unprecedented regulatory scrutiny with an increased focus on data management practices, according to Fesq.

Banks need to evolve their critical data flows to provide increased frequency, granularity, and auditable aggregation of data used to manage risk, he explained.

The Solution

Denodo helped CIT create a data services layer (DSL) which is a common provisioning point from which to access all authoritative sources of data, according to Fesq.

Data virtualization is a foundational technology within the DSL and beyond data integration capabilities, the “DSL” provides usage metering, monitoring of in-flight data movement, and orchestration of data APIs.

Data virtualization can reduce unnecessary copies, the root of data proliferation, Fesq explained.

After finding a solution that works, Fesq said the next steps are to build the team and the infrastructure capacity to provide an enterprise service, establish policies requiring the strategic data flow to go through the DSL, validate data lineage, unwind legacy ETL and rewire strategic data flows through the DSL, establish standards around how data is exposed, and start small, evolve with demand and growth.

“I think BJ and CIT has done a great job in putting the data abstraction layer and they have really controlled access of the data, more from a regulated perspective, I think it should be a best practice for the industry,” Shankar said.

The biggest challenge during this process, Fesq said, was, "As our usage patterns evolved and volume of data grew, it required tuning to maintain optimal performance.  We were able to work with Denodo to quickly adapt the platform to support our usage patterns.”

“It came down to understanding how people are using the data,” Fesq said. CIT was able to get controls to comply with financial regulations and federal requirements for data lineage. “It’s made it a whole lot cheaper in terms of compliance, audit, and any regulatory inquiries,” Fesq said.

The Result

CIT group has been able to use data vitualization to drive standardization, measure and improve data quality, abstract data consumers from data providers, expose data lineage, enable broader data integration, and serve a common provisioning point from which to access all authoritative sources of data.

Time to market has improved, Fesq said, with the company being able to publish things quicker than in the past. “It’s helped us to really simplify the environment, which is huge,” Fesq said. “We have a giant legacy complex environment I refer to as the ‘sausage grinder of data movement’ and it’s very hard to understand, so it’s helped us simplify the architecture, makes it simpler to understand the data we have, where it’s used and how often. It’s also enabled good governance.”

Data Summit is an annual 2-day conference preceded by a day of workshops that offers a comprehensive educational experience designed to guide you through all of the key issues in data management and analysis today. The event brings together IT managers, data architects, application developers, data analysts, project managers, and business managers for an intense immersion into the key technologies and strategies for becoming a data-informed business.

Many presentations, including Fesq’s slide deck, from Data Summit 2016 have been made available for review at