We have cut technology costs by 50% by moving to AWS, while gaining a business-critical analytics platform. 
Gary Wan Head of Delivery

Hong Kong-based Haymarket Media Limited—part of the Haymarket Media Group—is one of the world’s leading media specialist publishers of both print-based and online magazines. In Asia, the company’s titles include AsianInvestor, Campaign, CEI, FinanceAsia, and Corporate Treasurer. Haymarket Media Limited also runs events, organizing Spikes Asia—which recognizes the best creative output across the region— in partnership with global B2B media company Ascential plc and the organizer of Cannes Lions.

People are consuming online media more than ever. Major publishers worldwide are building digital strategies to offset the decline in print. At Haymarket Media Limited, Gary Wan, as head of delivery for Asia, is responsible for delivering the group’s digital strategy. As part of that strategy, Wan needed to provide solutions to analyze customer behavior online. Questions he looked to answer included: What stories were people reading in Haymarket publications online? And how were recipients interacting with Haymarket Media email messages? Wan says, “The goal is to understand how customers are engaging with us across multiple digital channels so we can make content more relevant.”

The challenge for Haymarket Media was building an analytics platform—called Haymarket Piccolo—to provide customer insight. Historically, the organization ran its digital and technology solutions from an on-premises collocation site. However, infrastructure costs were becoming a concern, and the business had to look for an alternative solution to run its analytics platform. “The cloud was the right place for Haymarket Piccolo,” says Wan. “A cloud architecture would scale at low cost as the analytics platform ingested larger amounts of customer-related data.” In turn, Wan could also introduce machine-learning to reveal hidden patterns, helping the organization tailor content even more accurately. For Wan, the cloud was a long-term solution for the entire Haymarket Media digital and technology stack in Asia. “I saw the cloud as a way to drive digital innovation and to focus resources on service development.”

After assessing offerings from multiple cloud-service providers, Haymarket Media engaged with Amazon Web Services (AWS). “I valued the commitment of AWS to service development,” says Wan. Before Wan joined Haymarket Media, he worked for a company that ran its technology on the AWS Cloud. “My experience of working with AWS was very good. I was highly satisfied with the performance of its services and the support.”  Wan and his digital and technology team designed Haymarket Piccolo to operate on the AWS Cloud. At its core, the platform features AWS services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for compute capacity, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for Microsoft SQL Server databases, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). “Our preparation was extensive and we migrated our data sets to the platform in just a couple of days. It was a very smooth process,” says Wan. Today, the platform tracks emails and traffic across Haymarket Media publications. Data streams from the websites are collated in Amazon Kinesis and then deposited in Amazon S3, which currently holds about 300 GB of raw data. Here, the data is transformed and moved into an Amazon Redshift data warehouse. Data from emails is loaded directly into Amazon S3 using AWS Lambda, and transformed before being moved to Amazon Redshift as well. Wan and his team have also started to use Amazon Machine Learning to create machine-learning models that can be queried for customer-behavior predictions. The figure below illustrates Haymarket’s environment in AWS:

haymarket-arch-diagram

Haymarket Media can tailor content more effectively and improve services to customers with Haymarket Piccolo in motion. For example, editors of its publications use the engine to measure the popularity of articles online. “Our editors gain a better understanding through our analytics platform on AWS of how users are interacting with the articles that appear in our publications,” says Wan. “They can use this information to generate content that will be more relevant and valuable to our customers.”

The analytics platform is also providing valuable information on the success of the seven million emails that Haymarket Media sends out each month. Based on data about opened emails and clicked links, sales personnel can predict which of the recipients are good leads for upselling services. In addition to the online data that goes into the platform, offline data captured during events organized by Haymarket Media is also uploaded. “We are forming a 360-degree view of our customer-base through the analytics platform running on AWS,” says Wan.

Haymarket Media has significantly reduced technology costs by moving services, such as the CMS, from the old on-premises collocation site to the AWS Cloud. Says Wan, “We have cut technology costs by 50 percent by moving to AWS, while gaining a business-critical analytics platform.”

As the amount of data on the platform increases, Wan can scale the infrastructure underpinning Haymarket Piccolo at low cost. Furthermore, he knows an expanded infrastructure won’t increase IT management overhead. “We have reduced technology management time by up to 30 percent by using AWS,” Wan says. “We can now promote digital and technology innovation and deliver much greater value to teams across Haymarket Media.”

Learn more about big data on AWS.