PayPal to extend Teradata data warehouse

Online payment service PayPal is planning to extend its Teradata data warehouse to enable users in its finance department to improve the accuracy and speed of financial reporting.

Online payment service PayPal is planning to extend its Teradata data warehouse to enable users in its finance department to improve the accuracy and speed of financial reporting.

This is the latest stage in a project that began in 2002 to centralise PayPal's business data and provide staff with a business intelligence portal to analyse data.

Its IT department has been able to pass on 60% of the costs of running business intelligence to PayPal's risk management, marketing and finance departments, funding further development of the Teradata system.

Clay Stanley, senior director at PayPal responsible for information management and delivery, said IT staff embedded within the finance department had started investigating how Teradata could be optimised for Hyperion financial reporting software used by the finance department.

He said, "We changed our IT organisation to align with risk management, marketing and the finance department."

Embedded IT staff had specialist skills required by each department, he said. "In risk management, the team needed SQL, business intelligence, business analysis, SAS and reporting skills. Marketing needed SAS, reporting and [market] segmentation knowledge, and finance needed reporting experts."

A central team of 20 internal staff plus external consultants looks after the back-end Teradata system. Staff with skills in data modelling and data integration work alongside IT staff who support workload management and the day-to-day operations of the data warehouse.

The business intelligence portal provides tools to enable end-users to access the data warehouse. Power users, who make up about 15% of business users, have been given access to the Microstrategy reporting tool and 40% of users have direct access to business transactions stored the data warehouse. By reorganising PayPal's IT, Stanley hopes 80% of business users will eventually be able to access pre-built reports from the company's business intelligence portal.

PayPal's business intelligence strategy

- Make governance a key requirement

- Understand the business

- Invest in self-service business intelligence

- Use IT to support business units

- Get a senior executive to sponsor the project




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