Iris – Can you build an integration pipeline for me?

The promise of Artificial Intelligence technology is flourishing. From Amazon shopping recommendations, Facebook image recognition, and personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa,  AI is becoming part of our everyday lives, whether we know it or not. These apps use information collected from your past requests to make predictions and deliver results that are tailored to your preferences. 

The importance of AI in today’s world is not lost upon us at SnapLogic. We are always trying to keep up with the latest innovations and technologies, so making our software fast, efficient, and automated for our customers has always been our goal. With the Spring release, SnapLogic launched the SnapLogic Integration Assistant. The SnapLogic Integration Assistant is a recommendation engine that uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to predict the next step in building a data pipeline for the cloud, analytics, and digital initiatives – with up to 90% accuracy.

Currently, customers build pipelines by searching and selecting from over 400 Snaps in the SnapLogic catalog and dragging and dropping them into the canvas. Repeating this step for every single Snap, although easy, can make a pipeline building process somewhat tedious and time-consuming. But with the Integration Assistant, the recommendation engine will provide the logical next steps in the building process, making pipeline building easy and efficient. The recommendation engine is a part of SnapLogic’s “Iris” technology – an industry-first in applying artificial intelligence for enterprise integration. See how it works in this video.

In the next few steps,  learn how to enable this feature and start building interactive pipelines yourself.

Right now, we have two ways of building pipelines:

  • Choose a Snap from the SnapLogic catalog
  • Use the Integration Assistant for recommending the right Snaps

How to enable the Integration Assistant feature

By default, the Integration Assistant option is turned off,  allowing you to continue building pipelines by selecting Snaps in the SnapLogic Catalog. However, to utilize the Integration Assistant, just head to the Settings icon and check the Integration Assistant option.

Once the Integration Assistant is enabled, you’ll immediately see the benefits of the self-guided user interface. Drag the first snap onto the canvas and the Integration Assistant instantly kicks in and highlights the next suitable Snap. At the same time, it also opens up another panel that lists suggested Snaps on the right-hand side of the canvas. These AI-driven Snap recommendations are based on the historical metadata from your previous workflows.

Next, you can choose to click the highlighted Snap or pick from the recommended list by dragging the suitable Snap into the canvas. This process continues further until you select a snap with a closed output. At this point, the Integration Assistant will stop suggesting Snaps and the pipeline will be ready for execution.

As you can see, the Integration Assistant improves your pipeline building experience by suggesting Snaps that are best fit for your organization based on the historical metadata flows.

Interested in learning more? Watch a quick demo on our YouTube channel – SnapLogic Spring 2017: Integration Assistant.”

Namita Prabhu is Senior QA Manager at SnapLogic.

Introducing SnapLogic Community

We are happy to announce that our new SnapLogic Community is live!

community-overview

Created by popular demand - it’s been running in alpha and beta for a few months – the community is a place where we encourage customers to ask questions about SnapLogic and share their expertise and best practices. Whether you’re looking for help or have tips or tricks, the goal is to provide a community that helps each other.

community-categories

  • Want assistance configuring a particular Snap? Post a question in the Snap Packs category.
  • Interested in sharing a pipeline you have found to be particularly useful? Write about it in the Designing Pipeline category.
  • Want to build your own Snap Pack? Go to the Developing Snaps category.

And yes, we are involved. SnapLogic developers, product managers, field teams, and others review the posts as they come in and when they are updated, but we will rely on the community to support each other.

How to get started

The SnapLogic community is currently for SnapLogic customers only. If you’re a customer with a verified customer email domain, it won’t take us long to approve you and grant you access. 

Go to https://community.snaplogic.com/ to request access. 

When approved, look out for an email with further instructions.

Once you’re approved and logged in, take a look at the content already provided by customers and SnapLogic employees who took part in the alpha and beta releases. Find something particularly useful? Go ahead and “Like” the post. Want to contribute to a thread or have a question? Please do! This community is for you. You will help drive the direction the community takes as it evolves. As your Community Manager, I will occasionally ask for suggestions for the site, but feel free to post ideas that you might have as they come up to the Community Info category.

We’re looking forward to growing this community. Sign up today and let us know what you think.

Request access at  https://community.snaplogic.com/.

Gaurav Dhillon on Nathan Latka’s “The Top” Podcast

Popular podcast host Nathan Latka has a built a large following getting top CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs to share strategies and tactics that set them up for business success. A data industry veteran and self-described “company-builder,” SnapLogic founder and CEO Gaurav Dhillon was recently invited by Nathan to appear as a featured guest on “The Top.”

Nathan is known for his rapid-fire, straight-to-the-point questioning, and Gaurav was more than up to the challenge. In this episode, the two looked back at Gaurav’s founding of Informatica in the ’90s; how he took that company public and helped it grow to become a billion-plus dollar business; why he stepped away from Informatica and decided to start SnapLogic; how integration fuels digital business and why customers are demanding modern solutions like SnapLogic’s that are easy to use and built for the cloud; and how he’s building a fast-growing, innovative business that also has it’s feet on the ground.

The two also kept it fun, with Gaurav fielding Nathan’s “Famous Five” show-closing questions, including favorite book, most admired CEO, advice to your 20-year-old self, and more.

You can listen to the full podcast above or via the following links:

Case study: Connecting the dots at Box

“Data needs to be delivered to a user in the right place at the right time in the right volume.”

Spoken by veteran SnapLogic user Alan Leung, Senior Enterprise Systems Program Manager at Box, Alan provides insight in this case study for why a cloud-first ecosystem with self-service integration is the right solution for many enterprise companies. Just as Box is on a mission to improve and innovate cloud-based file storage, internally they have moved toward a cloud-centric infrastructure that benefits from a cloud-based integration platform.

connecting-the-dots-at-box

Read the full case study here or take a look at some highlights below:

  • Overall problem: Box needed to more efficiently integrate cloud-based applications, including Salesforce, Zuora, NetSuite, and Tableau, all of which they relied on for daily operations.
  • Challenges: The primary challenge was around APIs – each application’s endpoints for integration purposes behaved differently, limiting abilities to build useful connections quickly and resulting in a series of disjointed silos. Manual upload and download processes caused a strain on resources and a waste of time and effort.
  • Goal: To satisfy the need to aggregate the business data piling up in various applications into a cloud-based warehouse to enable self-service, predictive analytics.
  • Solution needed: A cloud-based integration platform that vastly reduced or eliminated the time-consuming manual processes the users faced.
  • Solution found: With the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Cloud, Alan and his team benefitted from:
    • A platform that did not require sophisticated technical skills
    • The agility to enable quick and efficient integration projects
    • The ability to handle both structured and unstructured data at speed
    • An enhanced ability to quickly analyze and make sense of so much data, allowing the company to “rapidly pivot [our] operations to seize opportunity across every aspects of the business.”

For a quick snapshot, Box currently has 23 applications connected through the platform, resulting in 170 data pipelines processing over 15 billion transactions daily. They also have eliminated the need to build a single interface internally; and an ongoing benefit of Box’s partnership with SnapLogic is that more Snaps are always being created and can be implemented for future integration needs.

Learn more about all of our customers here, and stay tuned for more customer stories.

Igniting data discovery: SnapLogic delivers a “quanta” in improvement over Informatica

md_craig-BW-1443725112In my previous blog post, I talked about how a pharmaceutical company uses SnapLogic and Amazon Redshift to capitalize on market and environmental fluctuations, driving sales for its asthma relief medication. In this post, I’ll tell you the path the company took to get there. Hint: It wasn’t a straight one.

An IT organization abandons Informatica

Several months prior to launching its current environment, with data flows powered by SnapLogic, the pharmaceutical company tried, unsuccessfully, to integrate its data warehouses in Redshift using Informatica PowerCenter and Informatica Cloud. The IT team’s original plan was to move data from Salesforce, Veeva, and third-party sources into Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), and then integrate the data into Redshift for sales and marketing analytics.

However, the project stalled due to difficulty with Informatica PowerCenter, the IT team’s initial choice for data integration. PowerCenter, which Informatica describes as a “metadata-driven integration platform,” is a data extract, transfer, and load (ETL) product rooted in mid-1990s enterprise architecture. The team found PowerCenter complicated to use and slow to deliver the urgently needed integrations.

Looking for faster results, the pharmaceutical company then attempted to use Informatica Cloud, Informatica’s cloud-based integration solution. The data integration initiative was again derailed, this time by the solution’s lack of maturity and functionality. The pharmaceutical company’s data was forced back on-premises, jeopardizing the entire cloud data warehouse initiative.

Data integration aligned with the cloud

But the IT team kept searching for the right data integration solution. “Cloud was instrumental to our plans, and we needed data integration that aligned with where we were headed,” said the senior business capability manager in charge of the integration project. The pharmaceutical company chose the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud.

After a self-evaluation, the IT team was able to quickly build data integrations with SnapLogic; no specialized resources or consultants were required. To accomplish the integrations in Redshift, the pharmaceutical company used:

  • Salesforce Snap
  • Redshift Snap
  • Various RDBMS Snaps
  • ReST/SOAP Snaps
  • Transformation Snaps

With the data integration accomplished in a matter of days, the IT organization was assured that current skills sets could support the company’s future global BI architecture. In addition, the IT team found the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud easy enough for business users, such as the marketing team, to integrate new data into Redshift.

Leveraging Redshift’s nearly infinite availability of low-cost data storage and compute resources, the analytic possibilities are equally limitless – igniting the marketing team’s discovery of new strategies to drive new insights, revenues, and operational efficiencies.

SnapLogic delivers a “quanta” in improvement 

What is quanta? It’s the plural of the word “quantum,” a physics term that describes “a discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents.” If you’re not a physicist, your closest association is probably “quantum leap” – basically a gigantic leap forward.

Which is exactly what SnapLogic delivers. With regard to Informatica, Gaurav Dhillon, founder and CEO of SnapLogic, says:

“Fundamentally, I believe that SnapLogic is 10 times better than Informatica. That’s a design goal, and it’s also a necessary and sufficient condition for success. If a startup is going to survive, it’s got to have some 10x factor, some quanta of a value proposition.

“The quanta over the state of the art – the best-of-the-best of the incumbents – is vital. SnapLogic can fluently solve enterprise data problems almost as they are happening. That has a ‘wow’ factor people experience when they harness the power of our data integration technology.”

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud is a mature, full-featured Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) built in the cloud, for the cloud. Through its visual, automated approach to integration, the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud uniquely empowers both business and IT users, accelerating cloud data warehouse and analytics initiatives on Redshift and other cloud data warehouses

Unlike on-premises ETL or immature cloud tools, SnapLogic combines ease of use, streaming scalability, on-premises, and cloud integration, and managed connectors. Together, these capabilities present an improvement of up to 10 times over legacy ETL solutions such as Informatica or other “cloud-washed” solutions originally designed for on-premises use, accelerating cloud data warehouse integrations from months to days.

To learn more about how SnapLogic allows citizen data scientists to be productive with Amazon Redshift in days, not months, register for the webcast “Supercharge your Cloud Data Warehouse: 7 ways to achieve 10x improvement in speed and ease of Redshift integration.”

Craig Stewart is Vice President, Product Management at SnapLogic.

Discovery in overdrive: SnapLogic and Amazon Redshift power today’s pharma marketing

md_craig-BW-1443725112At its most fundamental, pharmaceutical marketing is based on straightforward market sizing and analytic baselines:

“The global market is composed of many submarkets [aka therapeutic categories] (TCs), whose number is given and equal to nTC. Each TC has a different number of patients (PatTC) in need of treatment for a specific disease, which determines the potential demand for drugs in each submarket. This number is set at the beginning of each simulation by drawing from a normal distribution [PatTC~N(μp,σp)] truncated in 0 to avoid negative values, and it is known by firms. Patients of each TC are grouped according to their willingness to buy drugs characterised by different qualities.”*

Yet capturing market share in today’s competitive environment is anything but easy. In the recent past, an army of sales reps would market directly to doctors, their efforts loosely coupled with consumer advertising placed across demographically compatible digital and traditional media.

This “spray and pray” approach with promotional spending, while extremely common, made it difficult to pinpoint specific tactics that drove individual product revenues. Projections and sales data factored heavily into the campaign planning stage, and in reports that summarized weekly, monthly, and quarterly results, but the insights gleaned were nearly always backward-looking and without a predictive element.

A pharmaceutical company pinpoints opportunity

Today, sophisticated pharmaceutical marketers have a much firmer grasp of how to use data to drive sales in a predictive manner – by deploying resources with pinpoint precision. A case in point: To maximize the market share of a prescription asthma medication, a leading pharmaceutical company uses SnapLogic and Amazon Redshift to analyze and correlate enormous volumes of data on a daily basis, capitalizing on even the smallest market and environmental fluctuations.

  • Each night, the marketing team takes in pharmacy data from around the US to monitor sales in each region, to learn how many units of the asthma medication sold the previous day. These numbers are processed, analyzed, and reported back to the sales team the following morning, allowing reps to closely monitor progress against their sales objectives.
  • With this data, the pharmaceutical marketing team can monitor, at aggregate and territory levels, the gross impact of many variables including:
    • Consumer advertising campaigns
    • Rep incentive programs
    • News coverage of air quality and asthma
  • However, the pharmaceutical marketing team takes its exploration much deeper. Layered on top of the core sales data, the marketing team correlates weather data from the National Weather Service (NWS) and multiple data sets from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), such as current air quality, historic air quality, and air quality over time. Like the sales data, the weather and EPA data cover the entire US.

By correlating these multiple data sets, the marketing team can extract extraordinary insights that improve tactical decisions and inform longer-term strategy. At a very granular, local level, the team can see:

  • How optimal timing and placement of advertising across digital and traditional media drives demand
  • Which regional weather conditions stimulate the most sales in specific locales
  • The impact of rep incentive programs on sales
  • How news coverage of air quality and asthma influences demand

Ultimately, the pharmaceutical marketing team can identify, with uncanny precision, markets to concentrate spending on local and regional media, which can change on a constant basis. In this way, prospective consumers are targeted with laser-like accuracy, raising their awareness of the pharmaceutical company’s asthma medication at the time they need it most.

The results of the targeted marketing strategy are clear: The pharmaceutical company has enjoyed significant market share growth with its asthma relief medication, while reducing advertising costs due to more effective targeting.

Tools to empower business users

The pharmaceutical industry example exemplifies perhaps the biggest trend in recent business history: massive demand for massive amounts of data, to provide insight and drive informed decision-making. But five years after data scientist was named “the sexiest job of the 21st century,” it’s not data scientists who are gathering, correlating, and analyzing all this data; at the most advanced companies, it’s business users. At the pharmaceutical company and countless others like it, the analytics explosion is ignited by “citizen data scientists” using SnapLogic and Redshift.

In my next blog post, the second of this two-part series, I’ll talk about how SnapLogic turned around a failing initial integration effort at the pharmaceutical company, replacing Informatica PowerCenter and Informatica Cloud.

To find out more on how to use SnapLogic with Amazon Redshift to ignite discovery within your organization, register for the webcast “Supercharge your Cloud Data Warehouse: 7 ways to achieve 10x improvement in speed and ease of Redshift integration.”

Craig Stewart is Vice President, Product Management at SnapLogic.

* JASSS, A Simulation Model of the Evolution of the Pharmaceutical Industry: A History-Friendly Model, October 2013

Onboarding contingent workers: Can your HR processes handle it?

Nada-headshotIt’s not just Lyft drivers and TaskRabbit taskers. Contingent workers — workers who are part-time, temporary, or often both — form a rapidly growing proportion of the overall US workforce:

  • 17% of the US workforce in 1989[1]
  • 36% in 2015[2]
  • Projected 43% by 2020[3]

Contingent workers, the cornerstone of the Gig Economy, have been the subject of countless headlines and conversations for several years. But while picking up a few bucks on the weekends driving for Uber is now mainstream, the companies that hire contingent workers still struggle with how to on- and off-board them efficiently. In an age when every moment of productivity counts, onboarding processes that are slowed by legacy systems present a significant drag on revenues and profitability.

Catching the productivity thief: poor integration

Take, for example, a venerable national restaurant chain on a hot streak of growth. To handle increased demand, more cooks needed be hired — in the midst of a national shortage of cooks. In the face of this dire shortage, literally every moment of productivity counted at the restaurant chain. To onboard new cooks in moments, not hours or days, the restaurant chain’s CIO embarked on a cloud-first strategy, intent on automating key HR processes and reducing costs. The company deployed Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) and ServiceNow, and set out to integrate the cloud applications with legacy on-premise Oracle applications using Informatica PowerCenter.

Several months into a proof of concept (POC) exercise, the project stalled due to the complexity, expense and slowness of the integration process.

SnapLogic speeds integration — and business results

Recognizing that a radically different integrated business solutions were needed, the restaurant chain chose the SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud to accelerate its transition. Here, the company’s goal was twofold:

  • Automate critical current and future workflows, such as employee on- and off-boarding, across Workday, Oracle applications and multiple point solutions. This comprised:
    • Onboarding cooks quickly and getting these new employees productive as fast as possible, having enrolled them in applicable benefits programs, provisioned uniforms and automated other new-employee actions.
    • Off-boarding departing employees as quickly as possible to reduce risk to the company.
  • Reduce the complexity and cost of the initial integrations, as well as their maintenance.

Using SnapLogic, the restaurant chain achieved all of its goals. It completed the complex Workday integration project in a matter of days, a dramatic contrast to its protracted, unsuccessful Informatica PowerCenter POC initiative.

With SnapLogic integration Snaps in place, and new Snaps easily added, the restaurant chain has a flexible foundation to handle future data and process integrations with speed and ease. And, because the Workday integration was executed at a fraction of the time and cost of using Informatica PowerCenter, SnapLogic was a direct catalyst to the restaurant chain achieving its digital transformation goals.

The SnapLogic Enterprise Integration Cloud, a self-service integration platform, makes it fast and easy to connect data, applications and devices. In doing so, SnapLogic eliminates business silos and technology bottlenecks, helping companies of all kinds to more efficiently manage their contingent workforces.

Bonus: reduce the cost of Workday integrations by up to 90% 

Find out how SnapLogic can accelerate the integration of Workday applications into enterprise environments, reducing associated time and costs by up to 90%. Register today for the webcast “How rapid Workday integration drives digital transformation.”

 

Nada daVeiga is VP Worldwide Pre-Sales, Customer Success, and Professional Services at SnapLogic. Follow her on Twitter @nrdaveiga.

 

[1] Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Intuit

[2] Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census, via Intuit

[3] Source: Intuit Contingent Workforce Forecast 2015