New visionary data platform has reduced time-to-market and increased efficiency significantly

Development, migration and decommissioning of the previous on-prem solution was all done in just five months.

PFA is, with its 1.3 million private customers and 6,000 corporate and organizational customers, as well as its approx. 1.500 employees Denmark's largest commercial pension company. PFA is an independent company that was founded in 1917 by the social partners to create mobility in the Danish labor market and secure pensions for those who can no longer work. PFA's DNA is to be social responsible, this in addition to creating value for their customers, they also contribute to sustainable social development.

The challenge

The investment organization in PFA faced a number of challenges with their existing data platform, which was based on an on-prem installation of Microsoft SQL Server.

Integrations with third-party systems were slow and was often a complicated process which required the involvement of many different parties. In addition, there was an increasing demand for new functionality and improvements to the platform, which were very often delayed or could not be implemented at all due to platform limitations. Therefore, the investment organization in PFA wanted to modernize the data platform to meet growing needs and demands as well as to take advantage of the cloud-based technologies.

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cVation assisted us creating a visionary and future-proof solution which, in short, significantly reduced our time-to-market and increased our efficiency considerably.

Christian Bøhlke, Executive Director - Investment Analytics, Data & Platforms, PFA

The process

In order to meet the desire for change, a process was initiated with a preliminary analysis and prototyping in Microsoft Fabric, which was completed in four months. After a short decision process of one month, it was decided to build on Azure Synapse, as Microsoft Fabric was not yet mature enough. The development, migration and parallel operation were then carried out in just five months and subsequently the new solution was rolled out, put into operation and the previous on-prem solution switched off. A close collaboration between cVation, the Data Solutions team in the Investment Organization as well as the Cloud and DataOps teams in PFA, ensured a successful implementation of a unified data warehouse solution in PFA's Azure Cloud.

The solution

The new data platform, PAM Data Hub, is a modern cloud-based solution built in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. The solution includes CI/CD pipeline management to ensure continuous integration and delivery of data analytics solutions, as well as automation of testing, implementation and monitoring processes.

In addition, robust infrastructure management was established to ensure availability, performance and security of the Azure infrastructure components such as Synapse SQL databases, Azure Analysis Services and Azure Function App.

PAM Data Hub now functions as the investment organisation's internal data warehouse, which supports all reporting and data analysis and ensures "one source of truth" across the business areas. The platform also includes orchestration tools, computation servers and front-end tools.

PFA's dataplatform has been developed with Microsofts technology and data services such as:

Data platform

  • Azure Synapse

  • Azure Analysis Services

  • Azure Functions

Infrastructure / CI/CD

  • Azure Cloud PaaS & IaaS Services

  • Azure DevOps & - Pipelines

  • Bicep

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In addition to cVation's ability to meet our high demands for security, reliability and scalability, they also have inspired us to gain new agile methods which now connects PFA's investment and IT organizations and make us work closer together. It is of great value to us.

Christian Bøhlke, Executive Director - Investment Analytics, Data & Platforms, PFA

The Result

The implementation of the PAM Data Hub has resulted in several benefits for PFA in several different areas.

Technical advantages:

Reliable data pipelines: CI/CD pipelines ensure that data pipelines are reliable and deliver data in a timely manner to end users or downstream systems.

Scalability and flexibility: The solution leverages Azure's scalability capabilities, enabling it to handle increasing data volumes and adapt to changing business needs.

Improved data security: Data is stored and processed in accordance with PFA's security practices, including encryption, access control and governance.

Business benefits:

Up-to-date functionality: The investment organization avoids overcomplicated solutions and, on the contrary, achieves a lower degree of maintenance, less specialist knowledge and thus personal dependence and, on top of that, a much shorter time-to-market.

Scalability and flexibility: Azure offers scalability features, and the solution leverages these to ensure that the data infrastructure can handle increasing data volumes, varying "opening hours" and adapting to changing business needs.

Modern cloud technology: Makes it possible to avoid code duplication and thus greater reuse of code, smaller amounts of code and far more fully automated processes and automated testing.

Higher efficiency: With the help of automation, you can avoid a number of 'middlemen' and costly intermediaries. This achieves a saving in resources, a simplification of the system and approach, and thus greater productivity and higher efficiency.

Automated processes: By automating processes and optimizing pipelines, the time it takes to turn raw data into actionable insights is reduced.

Stronger employer branding: All of this has also strengthened the investment organisation's employer branding, as employees now have access to modern tools and thus an even more attractive workplace.

Overall cross-cutting benefits for PFA:

  • A common platform: Common sense of ownership and starting point – better collaboration. The business and IT have weekly stand-up meetings of approx. 10 minutes.

  • Everyone has their "finger" on the pulse and shared responsibility. The simplified processes have resulted in a high degree of operational stability since initiation

  • Reduced time-to-market by automating processes and optimizing pipelines

The implementation of PAM Data Hub has thus not only solved the existing challenges, but also positioned the investment organization in PFA well for future development, increasing demands and growth.

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