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Customer Story: SaaS

Integrating Big Data Analytics with Cloud-based Business, Productivity, and Collaboration Apps

Challenge
Rapidly increasing customer demand for integrated online reporting and business intelligence reporting forced Zoho to acknowledge that its existing database infrastructure could not keep pace. Zoho needed a solution that could provide high performance analytics from the cloud without breaking the bank.
Solution
After comparing numerous alternatives, Zoho chose to deploy the Actian Analytics Platform™ and the Actian Vector Analytics Database to meet the needs of its Zoho Reports customer base.
Outcome
Using the Actian Analytics Platform and the Actian Vector Analytics Database, Zoho gained a fast and affordable data analytics platform that it could integrate into its cloud-based business applications to generate more than 5 million reports and dashboards per day in response to 500,000 customer queries.
About ZOHO
Zoho Corporation is a privately held company with more than 8,000 employees. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with international headquarters in Chennai, India, Zoho offers more than 45 cloud-based apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting, and back office operations—plus an array of productivity and collaboration tools.

Nobody wants to wait for business intelligence (BI). So when executives at Zoho got the clear message that half a million customers felt that they might be waiting a bit too long for the BI reports they expected from the Zoho applications they were using, Zoho executives took notice. 

Zoho offers a suite of more than 45 cloud-based business, productivity, and collaboration applications that are favored by more than 50 million users around the world. Many of its most popular applications rely on an integrated online reporting and business intelligence (BI) service known as Zoho Reports. But an explosion of growth in the popularity of its applications was putting real pressure on Zoho Reports and Zoho product managers knew they needed to find an analytics platform that could meet the increasing demand. They had three simple requirements: the solution must provide robust support for big-data analytics, be easy to use, and be affordable. 

An evaluation of the alternatives on the market made one thing abundantly clear: Only the Actian Analytics Platform™ and the Actian Vector Analytics Database could meet all three requirements.

Easy, affordable big data analytics
When Zoho put the major analytics platforms and relational databases to the test to determine which ones could meet the company’s needs, the Actian Analytics Platform and the Actian Vector Analytics Database came out on top. 

Actian Vector is designed from the ground up to remove the performance bottlenecks so often encountered when using relational databases. Rather than burdening database administrators with extensive and ongoing database-tuning responsibilities, Actian Vector delivers unparalleled performance by unlocking features already available in modern, off-the-shelf CPUs:

  • Vector processing – a patent-pending Actian technology whereby a single instruction can be performed across data sets
  • Column-based storage – disk I/O is minimized by accessing only relevant data
  • On-chip cache computing – data processing using on-chip cache is 100x faster than in RAM 
  • Smarter compression – compression is performed inside the CPU for maximum throughput 
  • Parallel execution – data is processed in parallel using any number of CPU cores

By deploying Actian Vector, Zoho could gain an enormous boost in performance without having to invest in specialty hardware. In tests, Actian Vector outperformed its competitors on off-the-shelf hardware—with little or no database tuning. 

Reporting for duty
Actian Vector proved in Zoho’s performance tests that its multi-tenant, massively parallel processing database architecture and columnar database orientation could meet the company’s broad business requirements, including complex analyses involving large data sets in an on-demand SaaS environment—and it could do so on commodity hardware. 

Today, Actian Vector powers the cloud-based reporting and analytics capabilities of Zoho Reports and Premium Reports. On a daily basis, more than 500,000 customers generate an estimated 5 million reports and dashboards—and generate them with no discernible delay, thanks to the Actian Analytics Platform and the Actian Vector Analytics Database.

“Our past experiences with relational databases often involved major limitations that prevented us from meeting our customers’ big data needs,” says Clarence Rozario, Senior Product Manager at Zoho. “Actian Vector was the only solution to combine the exceptional performance and manageability we require with the affordability our customers demand.”

Additionally, the Actian Analytics platform has made it easy for Zoho to integrate the data analytics, BI, and reporting services of Zoho Reports with other Zoho applications and data sets. Zoho Reports users find it easy to upload data from Zoho’s sales, finance, customer support, and marketing programs, enabling users to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and make business decisions based on richer analysis and more meaningful insights. They can build dashboards, generate insightful reports, and collaborate productively—and easily—with their colleagues online. 

Zoho was looking for robust support for big-data analytics, ease of use, and affordability. It found all three in the Actian Analytics Platform and the Actian Vector Analytics Database.

"Our past experiences with relational databases often involved major limitations that prevented us from meeting our customers’ big data needs. Actian Vector was the only solution to combine the exceptional performance and manageability we require with the affordability our customers demand."
Clarence Rozario, Senior Product Manager, Zoho
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