Providing employees with charge cards and expense accounts can empower employees to do their jobs effectively, but it can create challenges for any company that wants to understand how and where money is being spent. Employee Generated Spend (EGS) needs to be captured and reconciled with other spending channels within the organization, such as procurement, accounts payable, and travel management. Moreover, EGS may involve a wide variety of expenses – from the acquisition of ergonomic chairs and office equipment for a home office during COVID-19 lockdown to meal delivery, entertainment, and more. Employers want some level of visibility into those expenses – not just to control costs but to also ensure good governance and accountability to shareholders.
PredictX offers an advanced analytics spend management platform that provides a forward-looking view of potential spend and provides visibility into hidden costs. Using the PredictX platform allows users to uncover efficiency opportunities and find ways to help optimize travel-related expenses. PredictX built its EGS solution using artificial intelligence (AI), advanced data analytics tools, and Actian Vector – a high-performance columnar data warehouse. The solution combines and analyzes data from a wide range of systems and sources – including travel, expense cards, HR, and meeting data systems – to provide managers with opportunities to control costs and improve employee spending programs.
While PredictX had a cloud-based offering on its long-term product roadmap, a large potential client had a specific requirement for the ability to deploy on the Google Cloud Platform. The current solution delivered all the business value this prospect wanted, but hosting on the cloud was a key aspect of their requirements.
What could have been viewed as an insurmountable barrier, executives at PredictX recognized as an opportunity. PredictX had invested in Actian’s Vector data warehouse for analytics processing due to the unbeatable performance capabilities Vector offered. The team was delighted to hear that Actian had also designed the same powerful querying speed as part of the newly released cloud-native Avalanche Cloud Data Platform.
Actian Avalanche is a fully managed cloud data platform suite of services, designed from the ground up to deliver high performance and scale across all dimensions – data volume, concurrent users, and query complexity – at a fraction of the cost of alternative solutions. It is a true hybrid platform that can be deployed on-premises as well as on multiple clouds, including Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), enabling organizations to migrate or offload applications and data to the cloud at their own pace.
By migrating to the Avalanche platform, PredictX would be able to preserve its data and existing business logic to obtain a faster path to the cloud. This would enable them to meet their prospects’ requirements and create an option for future customers who want cloud deployment. The data connectors developed for ingesting data into PredictX’s on-premises Vector deployment performed just as efficiently and effectively on the Avalanche platform. This is because both use the same powerful Actian DataConnect technology for integration. Similarly, the AI and predictive analytics tools that PredictX had been running on Vector were able to migrate to Actian Avalanche in the cloud without major modifications.
Developers expected challenges in some areas, given that PredictX relied heavily on master data and workflows, and orchestration routines were originally built to run Vector on-premises. PredictX developers were wary about the master data and workflow routines forking in different directions if major modifications were needed to run them on the Avalanche platform. However, working through the migration with Actian professional services, developers at PredictX were able to reuse their existing configurations without any substantial redevelopment efforts. As a result, the migration was completed in less time than expected and without adding additional resources.
PredictX was able to migrate its platform to Google Cloud, configure new connectors for the client’s ESG systems, and complete all the necessary user acceptance testing in the span of under five months. The migration was far easier than anyone expected and deploying the client’s instance of PredictX on the Google Cloud Platform went faster than previous on-premises deployments.
By offering the option to host the PredictX platform to the cloud or on-premises, customers now have the flexibility to choose the best option for their business. PredictX is able to offer the same capabilities with lower upfront costs and greater scalability which they expect will significantly increase the number of customers choosing the PredictX EGS solution.