Epsilon: An Oracle Customer Profile

Jeff White, vice president, technology, strategic database services at Epsilon discusses Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Enterprise Manager.

Please introduce yourself and your organization

Jeff White brings over 14 years of experience in IT. As a Vice President, he leads Epsilon’s database organization for technology professional services. Jeff’s group consist of database administrators and database architects and focus on architecture, database solutions, full life cycle development and mission assurance. Jeff loves technology and the value it brings; he lives and breathes it!

What were you doing that needed this type of technology?

Epsilon manages customer loyalty programs for major global brands. These programs generate large amounts of data and require high-performance transaction processing, tracking, configuring, logging, and campaign execution capabilities. The evolution of the marketing landscape coupled with the emergence of new channels such as social media that have increased the demand for real-time reporting and end-user engagement led to the need for a data infrastructure that could scale to meet exponential data growth. We also knew that it must maintain strict performance and availability requirements for Online Transaction Processing and reporting workloads that support our client programs. In summary, we needed to enhance business and marketing service offerings to achieve transactional processing speeds and near real-time reporting that was unthinkable and cost restrictive in the past.

What products did you consider before making a selection?

We evaluated many solution providers in this space based on our business requirements. Specifically we looked at architecting a system utilizing flash technology.

Why did you select this one?

We selected Oracle for select client environments because of the high performance of both Data Warehousing and Online Transaction Processing workloads. We were able to leverage 24x7 offerings like Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) and Oracle Data Guard that were already part of our advanced database administrators groups skill sets along with Oracle Enterprise Manager to provide a cohesive end-to-end view for our Oracle Exadata and non-Exadata environments. A very important decision point was that Exadata is an engineered system that has been tested and certified from top to bottom therefore we don’t have to worry about component hardware, software, drivers, and firmware compatibility since it’s built in and database administrators and system administrators can focus on more pertinent and higher value business tasks that bring efficiencies to our customers.

What tangible benefits has your organization gotten through the use of this product?

We achieved transactional processing speeds of 5 to 12 times that of a traditional database solution. The information is now in real-time, meaning that when our client’s customers check out at a retail store, the system can calculate a new loyalty program score for each shopper in real time, identify instant savings to which the shopper is entitled, and enable a relevant conversation with the individual customer, all before they even leave the store―ultimately improving the overall customer experience and brand perception. In addition, we can provide near real-time reporting capabilities that allow marketing decision makers to be more strategic and agile.

What advice would you offer others facing similar circumstances?

Don’t rush to a decision. It’s important to evaluate all of your options. Technology is rapidly changing and you must consider your needs today and in the future. I also recommend that you evaluate each provider's road map and how it aligns with your road map as well as that of your clients. While cost and performance are important, evaluate technology solutions holistically and understanding think about what will bring the most overall value. It’s also important to evaluate your current team’s skill set and abilities, vendor support, functionality such as high availability and disaster recovery, extensibility, customization and third party products. And, last but not least, get your hands dirty and take solutions for a thorough test drive.