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With Datasource Consulting’s help, this payment processing provider was able to improve its data management program and universally define and subsequently track key business metrics such as profitability, strategy, management, and partnerships.


This major payment processing company processes $36B worth of transactions every year but discovered that they knew little about their profitability by customer. Over the years, they achieved growth through mergers and acquisitions. Individuals were running spreadsheets and using Access databases against operational systems to get information that they needed. This resulted in the propagation of multiple point solutions with a lack of consistent metric definitions and no defined way to integrate information across their myriad of systems. The project was to integrate data from three home grown credit card processing databases to provide merchant (customer) analytics for revenue optimization. They decided that it was time for a data warehouse and BI reporting solution.

Business Focus

To better serve senior management, this payment processing provider set out to develop a data warehouse and analytic capability that would allow them to track key business health metrics such as:

• Trended merchant sales volumes
• Detailed transaction activity
• Key financial metrics (revenue, costs, profitability)
• Margin analysis
• Attrition analysis

The goal was to provide the information necessary to make better and more informed decisions regarding sales, service, attrition management, channel/partner management, and risk management.

Datasource Solution

Datasource harnessed our proven BI Methodology (The SourceTM) which employs standards and best practices to ensure that incremental development is based on an extensible and supportable foundation.

To manage cost in conjunction with project requirements, Datasource chose to phase resources onto the project as needed. Initially Datasource provided a data architect/business analyst and reporting lead to work with the CIO, Corporate Controller, and financial analysts to articulate the definition of success. Ultimately, Datasource assembled a team to include:

• Data Architect/BA
• Reporting Lead
• Report Developer
• ETL Lead
• ETL Developer
• Senior Solution Architect

With little in place in the way of legacy analytics, the first significant task was to define the reporting and analytic requirements. It quickly became clear that various pockets of users had different definitions of fundamental business metrics such as profitability and contribution. Datasource facilitated a series of working sessions to drive consensus on these definitions.

In parallel, data mart and presentation layer mock-ups were used to better understand business user reporting requirements. It became clear that there was a heavy emphasis on ad-hoc capabilities to support “exploration” type analysis.

A four layer data warehouse was architected in SQL Server. Informatica Power Center was used for data integration (Extract Transform Load (ETL)). Cognos was used for reporting and analytics. The heavy ad-hoc requirement drove the team to implement Cognos Report Studio Reports atop a PowerCube. The solution provided capabilities such as prompting, drilling, and relative date/time functionality using MDX functions. A “launch point” dashboard was created from which data exploration may extend.

The Results

With Datasource’s help, this payment processing provider was able to universally define and subsequently track key business metrics. One such metric, profitability, turned out to be quite profitable for the company. By standardizing data definitions and with the power of an integrated data platform (data warehouse), the client was able to easily identify profitability at a merchant and sales partner level.

Through business process changes provided by the data warehouse, the company altered their sales approach and client agreements. This single change paid for the entire project within the first year!

The project was completed on-time and on-budget, providing a single source of truth for analytics. Datasource was engaged once again to execute on Release 2.

This client is now able to:

  • Sell better – they have a better informed and trained sales force who are measured and commissioned based on merchant profitability.
  • Service merchants better – they can trend their customers over time and look for outliers. They can also to track industry patterns relative to their internal performance.
  • Better manage attrition – they are now able to be proactive on customer retention. They can analyze options such as re-pricing and observe the outcomes over time.
  • Form better partnerships – they now understand the profitability for partnerships with banks, ISO/ISAs, professional associations, and other channels.
  • Better manage risk – they are now able to quantify key risks within the company relative to the industry.
  • Able to identify and resolve data quality issues.
  • Harness new technology (Informatica PowerCenter, Cognos) and process methods to expand their team’s data modeling or DW expertise.
Client Quote

“The work that Datasource did at TransFirst “transformed” our company and was one of the best experiences we (as a company) have ever had using an outside partner. The extra revenue found in billing inconsistencies alone paid for the project, our CEO was ecstatic.”

— Sue Pacek, VP and Controller —

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