The AWS cloud, the foundation for intelligence in the data economy

 

PortAventura World has consolidated the data from multiple data sources in Amazon S3. The migration has been essential to improve its analytics and reporting system and provide the organization with the intelligence provided by a data-driven economy.

Tarragona's Costa Dorada, between the towns of Salou and Vila-seca, is home to one of the main vacation and family leisure destinations in Europe: PortAventura World Parks & Resort. Among its attractions the complex has two theme parks and a water park, five four-star hotels and one five-star hotel with a total of more than two thousand three hundred rooms, and a 12.000-square-meter convention center with capacity for up to four thousand people.

This variety of businesses (entertainment, lodging, restaurants, shops, etc.) has given rise to a whole amalgam of main and secondary systems that help manage any operation that occurs within the complex.

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From physical and online ticket sales and access control to hospitality services and hotel management, as well as different solutions for controlling transactions in the different stores of the complex or the call center systems to attend to all the clients.

In short, as Robert Magí, CIO of the company, explains, “we are not a company with a single management system because we have to cover very specific needs of each of the organization's areas of activity and provide specialist support to all and each of the different business processes of the resort”.

The Challenge

All the data that is generated in these systems is consolidated in SAP on a daily basis and, properly processed and analyzed, is such useful information for the various business units and the Management Control area, which can make better decisions and optimize the experience that the organization offers (to) its clients during their stay. This is what the company thought in 2019, so it decided to modernize its reporting system to simplify data processing and gain agility, speed and efficiency in its analysis and decision-making process.

The IT team at PortAventura World, a team of 21 professionals who support the business, was clear that, in order to get to know the customer better and have) visibility of their entire experience at the resort and turn that data into valuable information for the company, it had to evolve from a static system in which the data was aggregated, to a dynamic and flexible model, which would provide the maximum detail of the visitor through structured and accessible information in real time.

The Solution

PortAventura World has opted for a hybrid systems architecture, combining on-premise systems such as its transactional SAP with cloud applications "where it makes sense," explains the CIO. This is the case of the ETL system (information loading, transformation and extraction), for whose development it opted for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud platform, with Linke, a Syntax company, as a technological partner.

“AWS offered us the high availability we needed for the business intelligence system, it guaranteed scalability and the constant evolution of services, and it offered us more choice in the different components of the infrastructure needed for the project compared to other solutions. Linke seemed like the right choice because of its experience with this cloud platform, the resources it had and the value it could bring”.

The project, which was coordinated by Albert Mellado, Project Manager of the company, and carried out by the Linke team, consisted of the implementation of an ETL solution that collects various data sources and, through AWS serverless Services, homogenizes the data that is consumed and analyzed in the Board advanced analysis platform.

PortAventura World now has an infrastructure that allows it to upload information from any on-premises data source to the Amazon S3 storage service. These are handled through the AWS Lambda service and are debugged. Once normalized, in addition to making a backup of the correct data, it is entered again in a Redshift database, which is the source of the analysis and reporting Board platform.

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Currently, the data for many of the main transactional systems is already in the AWS cloud, such as the hotel management system or the sales (systems) of restaurants and shops, and data from the ticketing and access system are being transferred. "We have a lot of consolidated information at the accounting, logistics and management control level already in AWS, and by combining all this data, it enriches the information and increases the level of detail”, Mellado summarizes.

Such an initiative requires prior preparation work and a lot of coordination between the IT team and the business units and in turn with the partner, to get a complete picture of the key information that the company needs. Still, the bulk of the project was carried out in two months, with staff working remotely due to lockdowns in the most severe months of the pandemic. "Once we defined the data and did the technical design, the project was done quickly using Linke's 'agile' methodology based on sprints, and we all got on very well," he adds.

Today, the organization uploads nearly three million records daily of its various transactional transactions to AWS cloud, which gives an idea of the reach of the project.

The Benefits

PortAventura World is already obtaining tangible advantages from this technological project which, as its project manager explains, has allowed them to take "a qualitative leap" in their analytical skills. Some of the benefits are:

  • The organization now has homogenized information, with data from different systems that it can analyze in detail, reaching levels of detail that were previously impossible. Plus, by having it in a single repository, you can cross data from different sources and departments, streamlining its decision-making process.

  • It has gained immediacy in accessing information and in the preparation of reports, which are currently automated and dynamic. This has made it possible to avoid manual processes and reduce their preparation time from hours to minutes.

  • Increased visibility and analytical capabilities enable cost control, resulting in improved management and optimization of resources.
  • By having greater visibility and knowledge of customers, it can offer more personalized services, as well as redefine their product offering based on the nees of the moment, resulting in a better experience and satisfaction of their customers, as it facilitates revenue growth.

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The Future

This is a constantly evolving project, as "we keep uploading new data to AWS and feed the system constantly because, by having more analytical capacity, we add new data that can be useful to extract information for the business on an ongoing basis", highlights Albert Mellado.

This is possible because the company now has a powerful repository of information available from previously non-intercommunicating sources.

The continuity of this project is key for PortAventura World to continue extracting value from data.

In addition, the organization will also prioritize other projects such as obtaining ISO 27000 certification (which accredits good practices in the implementation, maintenance and management of the Information Security Management System (ISMS) or providing the necessary technological support to projects within the digital acceleration framework that requires it. Their technology team believes that the hybrid IT model is the model that best fits their business, so the cloud will be the chosen option when “it fits naturally into our initiatives,” concludes Robert Magí.



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