Global Streaming Giant
How a global streaming giant drove efficiency and accuracy after a complex merger
single unified source of data
custom-developed domain-specific language created
monthly data transactions across multiple business units
About the client:
The client is a global video-on-demand over-the-top streaming service with more than 100 million users. Headquartered in the United States of America, the streaming service contains more than 400 movies and thousands of episodes of television.
Entertainment / Media
200,000 + employees
Length of project
Combining sensitive financial data into one single system
All organisations need secure, well-organised systems to manage their financial data. When our client, a global streaming company, acquired another business, it presented an issue about how to combine each organisation’s financial data into one system. But it also presented an opportunity to innovate and realise the benefits of economies of scale.
The streaming company wanted to combine the acquired company’s financial data with its own system, creating a single, unified source of finance data. The preferred outcome was to simplify the data lifecycle enabling the production, materialisation and accessibility of data to be as easy as possible and available to the required business stakeholders.
This was a complex project as both companies used their own AWS environment for financial data, and it was not possible to merge the two sets of data into one. The company considered using Amazon S3 as a shared data repository, but this was discounted as unsuitable for the type of data being moved.
Instead, our client built a new service that would see the acquired company’s data being output into a new format which could then be shared with the existing AWS environment. The system would export the acquired company’s data to a global data stream, and then import it into the client-side systems. From this point, it was possible to use the new company’s data in exactly the same way as native finance data.
A new, custom-developed language
The priority for our client was to complete this project as quickly as possible, with minimal disruption to other parts of the business.
To meet this requirement, Equal Experts chose to build the new data transfer service using a custom-developed domain-specific language.
The existing finance systems relied upon various coding languages, and creating a new service on this foundation was extremely difficult. By using a new, standard language, Equal Experts was able to create new code and amend existing code much more quickly and efficiently.
The domain-specific language also provides a framework for the client to use for future development. Code built using the custom-development domain-specific language is easier to write, easier to update and easier to test. It allows for faster, simpler development using defined constructs for fetching and transforming data.
The language includes five specific verbs that give engineers standard ways to describe specific functions such as destinations, transformations and stream joining.
Reducing the need for manual interventions
The finance system in the acquired business had a long history of manual intervention, with two full-time employees dedicated to identifying and updating incorrectly formatted transactions. This process was prone to failure and often required engineering resources to implement fixes, which impacted the client’s ability to improve their systems.
As part of the project, we created an architecture that recognises transaction errors and, rather than pushing them through into the finance system, retries them, and then returns them to the sender to be corrected before posting it to the finance system. It has greatly improved the processing of errors so two full-time employees are no longer required to spend time on manual interventions, with estimated savings to the business in the region of $500,000 per year.
This Patches No More (PNM) architecture assigns a unique trace ID to each transaction, making it easier to identify and trace errors without any manual intervention.
An efficient data system, built with extension in mind
The service was created in a completely iterative fashion with a cross-functional team doing all design, analysis, infrastructure, deployment and app development. This allowed the team to work independently without impacting other areas of the business, or requiring any external resource.
The system went live in December 2022 and has since run efficiently and without downtime. The highly sensitive financial data from each side of the merger was successfully consolidated and cleansed, providing a single, unified source of financial data. The data pulled from this one source of truth is agnostic to upstream changes, ensuring it keeps up with changing business needs.
It enables our client to have greater oversight of and access to its finances in real-time, with all processes managed in one application. The new system is benefiting various business units and teams including Financial Services, Analytics & Insights, Customer Service & future business units. Information and data can now easily be shared via direct access, reports, dashboards, automated emails and Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP).
The blueprint is modular and easily extendable to other business use cases by the client, supporting future mergers or opportunities to realise economies of scale. New streams of data can be added to the service in a scalable, repeatable way. The real-time analysis of the data also has the potential for predictive and machine-learning capabilities to be introduced.
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