Unlocking more value from data
Always seeking new ways to improve customer service and satisfaction, Parkdean Resorts is enthusiastic about unlocking more value from its data. Its aim is to enhance data-driven decision-making, such as providing park managers with greater insight into what’s happening at their resorts, and facilitating efficient staff resource management across everything from the contact centre to the bars to the cleaners.
Parkdean Resorts had shortlisted two business intelligence platforms with associated insight products, and asked Scott Logic to provide independent, expert validation of which solution was best suited to achieving its business objectives. With the technology selection made, Parkdean Resorts called upon our data engineering expertise to implement the new platform while also enhancing its in-house capability.
A cloud exemplar for wider adoption
In the first stage of the engagement, we carried out a technical assessment of the client’s two shortlisted solutions, and our recommendation was a data warehouse product hosted in Azure. This was well aligned with the client’s existing technology strategy to migrate to the cloud and increase adoption of Software as a Service. The data warehouse project offered the perfect opportunity to continue the client’s cloud journey, and we were able to collaborate closely with the client team in establishing the infrastructure and fostering best practices.
Working with the Parkdean Resorts team, we built a fully automated cloud infrastructure, implementing Infrastructure as Code processes which enable the rapid provisioning of new environments at the touch of a button. In so doing, we laid the groundwork for DevOps ways of working which the client team can cultivate and mature over time. We also established an exemplar target operating model for information security in the cloud which will be adopted as the client’s cloud migration advances.
Uninterrupted by COVID
We were on-site regularly with the client team in the early stages of the project, which was very beneficial; however, Scott Logic’s tried-and-tested remote working model was soon of equal importance: the COVID-19 Lockdown was initiated halfway through delivery. Communication and ways of working within the integrated team were unaffected by the changed circumstances. Sprint ceremonies continued to give structure to delivery, while team chat and video conferencing allowed uninterrupted collaboration and knowledge sharing. Our team provided regular demos via video call of the new working practices, and video conferencing and screen sharing facilitated continued peer-to-peer upskilling.
Incremental value from a hybrid solution
With the cloud infrastructure in place, we progressed the implementation of the data warehouse and insight tools. The product choices from our recommendation supported a hybrid solution: part data lake, part data warehouse. In contrast to data warehouses, the data that is loaded into a data lake has not yet been transformed for any specific purpose. Consequently, data can be pooled without time-consuming, up-front data architecture design. The data in the lake can still be transformed at a later point, but the raw data is meanwhile conveniently pooled for analysis. In this way, we supported Parkdean Resorts in uploading its first structured datasource into the data warehouse, while also providing additional flexibility and opportunities to drive incremental, long-term value from the data lake.
A key objective for Parkdean Resorts was to enhance its in-house capability around cloud and data warehousing. So, while we were selected for our excellence in cloud and data engineering, it was an added advantage that we, like the client, were headquartered in Newcastle. We were on-site regularly before lockdown, working as an integrated team. With swift and sufficient up-front planning, we rapidly moved into the next phase, taking an adaptive delivery approach. The infrastructure and data warehouse were delivered within tight timescales – thirteen weeks divided into sprints, each sprint with a clear goal.