You have huge datasets from which you want to derive insights to better forecast demand and improve revenues. That data will drive your business strategy, which means you’re likely looking for a data platform vendor who knows how to integrate seamlessly with what you’re already working with. PROS understands the nature of a data platform because we have been a Business Applications Platform for many years.
In fact, we’ve been working to improve our customers' ability to extend PROS as a part of their digital transformation journey, not only supporting modern commerce in the digital age, but also making it easier for our customers to run their unique business models. The PROS platform gives our customers the advantage of SaaS software without having to undertake complete custom development. This allows customers to focus on running their companies—not on the technology that isn’t core to their business.
What Does it Mean to Be a Data Platform?
To help you better understand exactly what a data platform is, here are some key characteristics of one:
- Works with your existing systems and processes
- Allows you to bring your own datasets, shaped to fit your business needs, instead of a cookie-cutter approach
- Maximizes existing knowledge while minimizing new and unique knowledge requirements
- Is easy to use
- Accelerates time to value
- Stands the test of time; won't become outdated and instead can grow and change with you as your business evolves
The out-of-the-box PROS Common Data Model (CDM) allows you to extend its capabilities to fit your organization’s needs. The PROS Data Platform provides the ability to manage datasets, ingress and egress data for said datasets, and support batch and streaming workloads across use cases such as Science, BI, and Data Integrations.
While this data will exist in many formats and many locations, by creating a Data Fabric, we can process and extract intelligence from it which can then be delivered to your decision-makers. We do this by using your data from which we derive usable insights for your business; think of it as the oil that we can refine to help power the decision-making machine.
A Case for Implementation
Before we dive deeper, let’s look at a few key business use cases and problems that the data platform solves. For example, it can:
- Integrate and manage airline shopping and booking data from which PROS science derives insights for improved demand forecasting and pricing to maximize revenues.
- Integrate and manage B2B customer datasets from which the PROS science builds AI models to generate accurate pricing guidance.
- Store, track, and analyze key customer usage metrics.
- Manage and catalog the datasets as the central data integration platform for PROS applications and services.
All together, a data platform can maximize profitability and drive business growth – which is core to what we do at PROS.
Key Capabilities of a Data Platform
The Data Platform must have certain capabilities to support the themes mentioned above. Such capabilities include:
Customers must be able to manage their datasets and the data for their datasets when they want to, and according to their processes. The chosen data platform must allow customers to interact with the platform via workflows, configuration, and coding.
Common Data Model
The platform must include a Common Data Model to provide building blocks for critical capabilities such as pricing, quoting, RM, etc. that can be configured as an extension to customers’ commerce ecosystem.
The platform must allow customers to easily customize their datasets and extend the PROS Common Data Model to better suit their business processes. The extensibility must be supported via workflows, configuration, and coding. Customers must be able to shape the data to their business needs now and over time, as well as export and import data as they need to.
Customers and applications must be able to access and interact with the datasets as tables or streams without knowing the specific details of the storage locations, protocols, and storage data formats.
The platform must support access to the datasets and their data for different use cases, including:
- Admin user and applications integration using the CLI, UI, and API
- Science and data batch workloads via the Spark interface
- BI and Analytics from application UI and BI tools
The platform must allow easy data integrations with customer systems using easily accessible technologies, industry standard protocols, and data integration platforms.
The Data Platform must provide customer authentication, access controls, and customer data isolations, conforming to the various data protection regulations and privacy laws.
The Architecture of a Data Platform
Supporting the capabilities listed above requires a robust Data Platform architecture. Thankfully, the PROS Data Fabric is built on top of highly scalable and available Azure Data Lake Storage and Azure Databricks. This allows the platform to leverage the Delta Lake implementation of datasets for table abstraction, transactions, data merge semantics, data version management, and more.
Furthermore, the PROS Platform:
- Runs on Databricks for the scalable Spark execution engine
- Integrates with Confluent cloud for Kafka for stream-based access to Datasets for real-time integrations
- Implements PROS Data Fabric Engine for orchestrating dataset management, data ingress/egress, and data streaming
- Exposes REST API access for dataset definition and data workflows
- Provides CLI for data admins to interact with the platform
- Provides Apache Spark custom connector for programmatic access to datasets from science and batch data workloads
- Exposes SQL access to datasets for Analytics and Business Intelligence
- Exposes Azure Data Lake Storage-based data integrations with third party data sources
- Integrates with the PROS App Portal and Databricks Unity Catalog for tenant authentication and fine-grained access controls
What Comes Next?
In a nutshell, PROS meets all the needs of an enterprise looking for a data platform that is easy to use, scalable, flexible, secure, and extensible. The PROS Platform helps process and analyze very large datasets to derive insights and guidance quickly and cost effectively in order to ultimately drive profitability and growth.
If you’d like to learn more about how PROS can help you get the most out of your data, reach out to us; we look forward to helping you drive profitable growth for your business.