Quantrix helped Merrill Lynch Overcome Data Silos

"Quantrix enabled us to make a quantum leap in providing timely information to our executive management.”

- Vince Caruso, Vice President

Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies, with offices in 37 countries and territories. Their total client assets are approximately $1.5 trillion. Merrill Lynch is a leading global trader and underwriter of securities and derivatives across a broad range of asset classes. It also serves as a strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. The Core Application Infrastructure (CAI) group at Merrill Lynch develops, maintains and monitors the information technology infrastructure that provides the critical business edge to financial advisors within the Global Private Client practice.

The Challenge – Create Information Clarity Out of Data Chaos

Merrill Lynch operates an ever-increasing number of information systems and online offerings. CAI employs monitoring systems to ensure that these applications perform at optimal levels and provide a positive experience for users. The systems generate enormous amounts of multi-dimensional data – some with up to four thousand unique measurements. CAI maintained these vast data sets in data warehouses which were accessed by spreadsheets and SQL server databases. However, the data was difficult to aggregate and view with Excel import tools and SQL statements which resulted in unwieldy data 'silos'. It was a tremendous challenge to assemble, model and visually present this data in a clear format that supported decision-making. On top of that, information requests were highly time-sensitive - managers often required a turnaround time in as little as 15 minutes. All too often, it was impossible to deliver the information within the required time to achieve the desired business outcome. Vince Caruso, Vice President of Applications Performance Analysis for CAI, realized that the challenge was only growing and that a new solution was needed.

Furthermore, he was looking for a solution that could fit into a Six Sigma framework and facilitate ‘best practices’ from Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) methodologies. The Six Sigma project goals were to reduce defects, make the IT environment more reliable, and provide greater data and information transparency to executive management and other constituents.

The Discovery – Quantrix Multi-Dimensional Data Modeling and Analytics

Caruso and his colleagues evaluated a number of software options – including Cognos and open source business intelligence tools – but quickly determined it would add another layer of unwanted complexity and resource demands. They wanted an easy-to-use solution that could eliminate the data stovepipes, handle the dimensionality factor, and present information visually to support decision-making – all within a structured, quality process. They discovered Quantrix Modeler, which offered all the features and benefits they were looking for. Also, Quantrix’ integration tool, DataLink, worked great with JDBC and was superior to Excel import tools. “A light turned on in my head when I saw what Quantrix could accomplish” said Caruso. Furthermore, he had high praise for Quantrix Support, “The support staff were extremely responsive and went out of their way to help make our project a success.”

The Result – A Quantum Leap in Data Modeling and Delivery

Caruso reports that CAI has achieved their business objectives with Quantrix. “We found that it was much easier and quicker to manipulate data to get the perspective we needed. Quantrix helps visualize data points quickly. It allows modelers to see and recognize patterns. Quantrix enabled us to make a quantum leap in providing timely information to our executive management. It has also proven to be an integral part of our quality improvement program”. According to Caruso, “The benefits to the business have been significant – we are no longer overwhelmed by data. Quantrix makes complex modeling easier. It has helped us to reduce cost, and most importantly it has helped us improve service to our clients.” Caruso concludes, “Quantrix isn’t just a means for fixing business processes. Quantrix is an opportunity to improve the way people work.”