May 11, 2023 | 9 minute read
“The simplicity of using Oracle Data Platform with Autonomous Data Warehouse and OCI Integration has helped us reduce operational costs 80% and accelerate our project delivery times.”
Hearst is one of the nation’s largest global, diversified information, services, and media companies. Hearst has been innovating for more than a century, leading with purpose, integrity, and a culture of care, with a mission to inform audiences and improve lives. Oracle Data Platform and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Integration services helped Hearst accelerate its project delivery for continued modernization. Now, Hearst can easily ingest and utilize more data while accepting quarterly SaaS upgrades.
Figure 1: Hearst operates in 40 countries.
Hearst continually evaluates new technology to improve its data processing tools to support the media company’s strategy and growth ambitions while limiting the cost and complexity of its ongoing digital transformation.
Hearst was looking for an easy-to-use, cloud integration and data platform solution to increase operational efficiency. The mission for this phase of the transformation journey was to automate application connectivity and data flows quickly.
Hearst had the following goals for its cloud integration and data platform project:
- Deliver a simple, automated multicloud process supporting data extract, transform, and load (ETL) to presentation with unlimited scalability.
- Ingest data from multiple sources, transform, enrich, and load into an open, to a unified data platform to create a single source of truth.
- Quickly connect new and existing applications without implementing SaaS customizations that would complicate upgrades.
- Save operational costs, reduce time to deliver, and accelerate the ability to release incremental changes with end-to-end automation.
OCI services used
Hearst’s modernization initiative was built using cloud-first and customization-free design principles. To achieve the goals of accelerating delivery and reducing costs, Hearst was looking for an integrated solution where all applications could be simply connected and data processed quickly on a unified platform. Hearst leveraged the following OCI services:
- OCI Data Integration: A fully managed, multi-tenant service that helps data engineers and ETL developers accelerate data science and analytics projects with a no-code dataflow designer for configuring integration parameters and automating data mappings. Visual designers simplify common ETL tasks, such as ingesting data from various data assets, cleansing, transforming, reshaping that data, and efficiently loading it to target data assets.
- Oracle Application Integration (OIC): A fully managed service that helps enterprise developers innovate faster with prebuilt connectivity to SaaS and on-premises applications, run-ready process automation templates, and a low-code visual builder for web and mobile application development. Native access to events in Oracle Cloud ERP and HCM to help developers to quickly deliver data-driven automation for simpler requisition-to-receipt, recruit-to-pay, invoice-to-cash, and other business processes.
- Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse: A fully automated cloud database service optimized for analytic workloads, including data marts, data warehouses, and data lakes. It is preconfigured with columnar format, partitioning, and large joins to simplify and accelerate database provisioning, extracting, loading, and transforming data; running sophisticated reports; generating predictions; and creating machine learning models.
- Oracle Object Storage: A cloud service that enables customers to securely store any type of data in its native format. With built-in redundancy, OCI Object Storage is ideal for building modern applications that require scale and flexibility, as it can be used to consolidate multiple data sources for analytics, backup, or archive purposes.
- Oracle Identity and Access Management (IAM): A cloud native platform including authentication, single sign-on (SSO), and identity lifecycle management. Oracle IAM helps administrators control who has access to cloud resources, what type of access a group of users has, and to which specific resources.
Hearst's analytics solution uses Autonomous Data Warehouse as the single source of truth and OCI Data Integration to transform, enrich, and load source data from Object Storage. OCI Application Integration (OIC) connects Oracle Cloud ERP and Oracle Cloud HCM SaaS to its application ecosystem while enabling rapid extensions and quarterly SaaS upgrades. Bulk data extracts are securely transferred from any application to Object Storage through an AWS SFTP file server. Hearst’s financial and human resources departments leverage Microsoft Azure Power BI for analytic dashboards. For data load to Power BI and data refresh, an OCI Windows Compute instance is used. Hearst has continued to expand and is now using Oracle Analytics Cloud to access and process relevant data, evaluate predictions, and make timely, accurate decisions regarding HCM data.
The Oracle solution
Hearst selected OCI for its multicloud integration and data platform to achieve:
- Improved financial and HR decision making with less administrative overhead.
- Quicker delivery of SaaS extensions and connections with easy upgrades.
- Cost savings through more attractive pricing and leveraging existing Oracle licenses.
- A simple approach to mitigate the risk and complexity of the legacy infrastructure.
- A partner focused on success and able to work across cloud providers.
To achieve its goals, Hearst implemented a cloud native solution on OCI. The solution is a cloud application integration and Oracle Data Platform solution complete with a data warehouse, data integration, data storage, and analytic services. Hearst can now load any type of data from a wide range of sources into its data warehouse or data storage, and leverage easy to use automation to transform, visualize, and analyze it from a single source of truth.
OCI Data Integration data flows and pipelines made it easy for data analysts to connect and transform data from multiple sources. With OCI Data Integration’s no-code designers, prebuilt adapters from OCI Application Integration (OIC), ADW’s automation, and embedded Azure Power BI analytics, Hearst was able to save 80% over traditional approaches.
All components of the multicloud OCI Integration and Oracle Data Platform scale automatically, removing the need for Hearst to manually manage its on-premises infrastructure. Using the automated analytics solution, Hearst now delivers unified financial and human resource insights 2X faster and are planning to use AI-powered analytics from Oracle Analytics Cloud with machine learning and natural language processing technologies.
Figure 2: Easily orchestrate the secure, multicloud transfer of payroll reporting information from third-party vendors to Oracle Object Storage for processing.
Figure 3: Visually define and automate data pipelines from source systems to analytics and ML modeling.
Technical implementation on OCI
Hearst uses OCI Integration services to synchronize data and transaction events among applications, share bulk data extracts from Oracle Cloud ERP and HCM to Object Storage, and perform ETL/ELT with OCI Data Integration to ingest and enrich data in ADW. Hearst developers use OCI Application Integration (OIC) to connect its application ecosystem. The developers are able to supplement their analytics data flow with event-based transactions by directly updating ADW as appropriate.
Hearst’s multicloud integration and data platform leverages these OCI capabilities:
- OCI Application Integration (OIC) is used to connect Hearst's application and partner ecosystem with Oracle Cloud ERP for core finance, procurement, and project management; Oracle Cloud EPM for planning and financial close; Oracle Cloud HCM for global HR, talent management, and learning.
- Oracle Cloud Applications are easily extended with OCI Visual Builder for mobile apps in minutes and push-button releases. Unlike traditional customization approaches, OCI Visual Builder is abstracted from the application layer to simplify upgrades.
- Developers and operators transfer bulk data extracts from any SaaS or custom application into Oracle Object Storage, through a third party SFTP file server. Operators are also able to use OCI Application Integration's file server capabilities, or OCI Data Integration to access extracted files directly.
- OCI Data Integration is used to easily ingest, enrich, and transform source data which often involves complex logic and end-to-end automation.
- OCI Object Storage significantly reduced cost compared to other cloud providers, and provides a highly scalable source for unstructured and semi-structured data movement, transformation, enrichment, and ingestion into ADW.
- Data analysts use the no-code, visual designer to quickly define data flows. Data integration flows and pipelines that once took days to deliver, can now be created 2X faster.
- Tables are created on Autonomous Data Warehouse and the enriched, transformed data of all types are quickly ingested into those tables.
- Transformed data is analyzed using Microsoft Power BI. Hearst is exploring the use of Oracle Analytics Cloud to enable data analysts and business experts to define its own dashboards in minutes with self-service capabilities.
Figure 4: Hearst’s end-to-end data pipeline automation cut costs 80% and delivered new analytics 2X faster.
Hearst can now automate its data pipeline without coding by using OCI Data Integration and connect its application ecosystem 2X faster with OCI Application Integration (OIC). Hearst data analysts found the cloud-native ETL services easy to use, troubleshoot, and maintain. Connecting its applications with Oracle Data Platform helped Hearst improve financial reporting and gain insights in near real time while reducing IT support costs.
OIC helped Hearst reduce the risk, cost, and delivery time for transitioning its on-premises applications environment to the cloud, while preparing the company for future acquisitions. Prebuilt integrations enabled the team to connect Oracle Cloud applications with third-party SaaS applications 2X faster.
According to Anand Gorur, Executive Director of Technology at Hearst, "Our strategy of not customizing SaaS applications was wholly dependent on the abstraction we built using OCI integration and Oracle Cloud Platform. Prebuilt integrations and visual designers helped us cut our time to release new innovations by 2X while enabling us to accept SaaS upgrades on a quarterly basis."
Together with Accenture, Oracle is a trusted partner in accelerating SaaS innovation and improving the throughput time for new analytics using Hearst's unified application integration and data ingestion layer.
Hearst has found that a fully integrated data platform using Object Storage, Autonomous Data Warehouse, OCI Data Integration, and OCI Application Integration offers 2X time savings for their development and data analyst teams. Based on their success to date, Hearst intends to further expand their analytics and ML-modeling capabilities with Oracle Analytics Cloud, open-source data management tools, and prebuilt OCI resources including AI Services, Data Catalog, and Data Flow.