As Africa’s leading entertainment company, MultiChoice delivers Direct To Home (DTH), Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and online video entertainment services through its entertainment platforms – DStv, GOtv, Showmax and DStv Now – to approximately 20 million subscribers across 50 countries in Africa.
The depth and breadth of this offering is why the company needs its data and analytics to be agile, future-proof and scalable. For MultiChoice, this meant one thing: a benchmark project to deploy Microsoft’s Azure Synapse technology – bringing together data integration, enterprise data warehousing, and big data analytics – to give the Group deeper insights, faster, to better serve millions of viewers.
Aspiring to extraordinary analytics capabilities
The initiative – codenamed ‘Vibranium’ after the fictional Wakanda metal with extraordinary abilities to absorb, store, manipulate and release large amounts of kinetic energy – sought to achieve the same power from data across the MultiChoice Group. The Group, already mature in its data analytics strategy, was challenged in that it had numerous data and analytics teams working throughout the company’s businesses across Africa.
These teams had been relying on disparate data environments, many of them on-premise. “We needed an agile and scalable, cloud-based single source of truth, with full governance and compliance that would not limit or slow the work of our autonomous analytics teams,” says Jeandre Du Toit, Lead for Modern Data Architecture at MultiChoice Group.
The company partnered with Microsoft to implement aspects of its enterprise data strategy across the Group, including data management, modern data architecture, BI and advanced analytics, and more modern ways of working.
MultiChoice introduced DataOps with continuous integration and delivery, as well as a more agile approach in which solutions were delivered in slivers for immediate value, then expanded for incremental value.
“We also wanted to adopt cloud in order to take advantage of new features and new technologies being made available, while also ensuring that we could easily scale, consume and adopt. Because we already had a trusted relationship with Microsoft and in-house Microsoft skills sets that the Group could leverage, we turned to Microsoft,” says du Toit.
Getting deeper insights, faster
The ideal solution for MultiChoice’s needs was Azure Synapse Analytics. Delivering insights up to 14 times faster than other cloud providers, the solution addressed the MultiChoice Group’s top priorities: getting deeper insights, faster.
Adoption was accelerated by using Microsoft Consulting Services, and MultiChoice had direct access to international Microsoft engineers for guidance and collaboration to ensure a well-architected design and framework. The new principles and systems required some upskilling in partnership with Microsoft, but the Group’s data analysts report that they are excited about the new tools at their disposal to deliver on MultiChoice’s requirements.
Vibranium is also among the first projects in the world to be privy to information about new Synapse features still in development, and is therefore able to develop its architecture with a view to utilising those features in future as technologies and demands change.
A single version of the truth
Teams can now also tap into additional information they previously did not have access to, or didn’t know was available, through integrated data stored in a single place and acting as a single version of the truth.
“We are becoming an analytics-driven organisation that understands why treating our data as an asset in a digital world is critical and considers insights an imperative to continuously adapt in a world where change has become a constant,” says Debra Goosen, Analytics Innovation Lead at MultiChoice. “As a large-scale transformation programme, Vibranium is the vehicle that has been set up to achieve these objectives and enables us to continuously evolve.”
The project is also building synergies in the company, with data and analytics teams building on each-other’s work and developing far richer solutions for the organisation. In addition, standardised principles and governance are now applied across the group to ensure data is managed appropriately.
The MultiChoice Group views the large-scale project as transformative in nature, delivering both a modern data platform and a more modern way of work, which will enable it to be more competitive and deliver more personal, relevant engagement and services for its viewers.
“The deeper insights we’re gaining allows us to push our strategy to the next level. We’re a lot more agile and we are starting to see an increase in the cadence of our deliveries,” says du Toit.
To find out what benefits Azure Synapse Analytics can bring to your business, visit Azure Synapse Analytics | Microsoft Azure