With each new release of the AWS services underpinning our architecture, our platform runs 25% quicker.
Vijay Chidambaram VP of Cloud Engineering, Manthan
  • Manthan sought to move to a software as a service (SaaS) business model to meet its goals
  • The business is running its SaaS platform on AWS
  • Reduced deployment time of retail-analytics and BI platform from months to days
  • Increased performance by 40%
  • Enhanced speed of cloud infrastructure by 20 to 25% with each AWS service update
  • Enables developers to work 25% faster
  • Saved at least 45% on the time it takes to build

Manthan delivers business intelligence (BI), analytics, and artificial intelligence solutions to global businesses. The company develops and markets a suite of software solutions to consumer businesses, enabling them to make profitable data-driven business decisions. Manthan provides its services to more than 200 leading retailers across 22 countries; its customers include Starbucks, Crocs, Robinsons Group, and Ebay. In 2017, Manthan has launched an artificial intelligence and natural-language processing conversation agent to facilitate voice based interactions with data and insights.

Anticipating buyer behavior is crucial for consumer businesses like retail. Successful retailers know the importance of delivering the right product, at the right price, at the right time. Data about customer behavior is often available to retailers through internal systems and online platforms; however, gaining insights from huge quantities of data available is hard. Manthan offers a solution that helps marketers quickly gain a deep understanding of customers, uncover marketing opportunities, and define the most effective ways to interact with them.

Even though Manthan has the technology to analyze large amounts of data, it faced the challenge of delivering its solution at a lower cost. Manthan also wanted to speed up the time and effort to deploy its solutions “We normally worked for four to six months to deploy our technology in a customer data center,” says Vijay Chidambaram, vice president of cloud engineering at Manthan. “This meant it could be half a year before a customer started seeing a return on its investment.”

Manthan sought to move to a software as a service (SaaS) business model to meet its goals. “We looked to the cloud so retailers of all sizes could access our fully tailored analytics suite,” says Chidambaram.

Manthan adopted Amazon Web Services (AWS) after assessing multiple cloud-service providers, including Microsoft Azure. Of all the cloud providers, we felt AWS was best able to support our technology, which is built on J2EE and features multiple open-source databases,” Chidambaram says. Most importantly, AWS provided Manthan with close support, helping its software engineers gain an understanding of foundational AWS services for compute, storage, databases, and networking. “After discussing best practices with AWS, we ported our legacy platform over to the AWS Cloud with minimal engineering investment,” says Chidambaram.

At the heart of the Manthan SaaS platform are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances for compute. It also features Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as the repository for the platform’s data lake and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) as the main application database. The entire infrastructure sits within a Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) for security.

In 2012, Manthan began developing the platform’s analytical and BI capabilities. It added Amazon Kinesis, which processes real-time data streams coming into the Manthan platform via social media and from customers’ internal systems. Data from Amazon Kinesis enters a Manthan-built processing engine before going into Amazon Redshift, a petabyte-scale data warehouse. At this point, analytic and business-intelligence tools extract multiple business insights from the data, and these are presented to customers via dashboards.

In 2016, Manthan also integrated the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), bringing artificial intelligence and natural- language processing into its SaaS offering. Manthan’s new service called Maya is a conversational advisor for decision makers and can provide insights that are critical for profitable decision making. The decision maker can ask Maya a range of questions to find out for example, the volume of sales in a specific category in a particular region, or year-over-year growth rate. Maya will compute this metric using a complex analytical function invoked on the fly using AWS Lambda, and instantly provide the desired metrics as a voice conversation. This makes business insight more accessible and faster.

Using AWS, Manthan is successfully delivering its analytics solutions to customers of all sizes. The total cost of ownership for Mathan’s customers has dropped significantly since the company’s move to the AWS Cloud, and a large part of the savings comes from reducing the time for implementation. “We’ve reduced deployment periods for our advanced analytics and BI solution from months to days by using AWS,” says Chidambaram.

Compared with Mathan’s legacy platform, the SaaS solution operating on the AWS Cloud runs significantly faster. “After moving to AWS, we saw a 40 percent increase in performance,” says Chidambaram. Performance only continues to improve as AWS enhances its services and Manthan incorporates them into its SaaS architecture. “With each new release of the AWS services underpinning our architecture, our platform runs 20 to 25 percent quicker,” says Chidambaram.

Manthan is continuously improving its services for customers. By moving to the AWS Cloud, the company has cut both development time and expense. Software engineers spin up AWS infrastructures on the fly as they build, test, and deploy new code. “We are developing our Manthan services at least 25 percent faster by working with AWS, and we save at least 45 percent on the time to build our development environments.”

The cost savings from AWS are helping drive innovation. Furthermore, services such as AVS are helping Manthan take its SaaS solutions to a “new level,” says Chidambaram. “It is an exciting time for Manthan as we integrate artificial intelligence in our suite of solutions. Maya is one of the first artificial intelligence–powered agents for business analytics, and it’s already gaining a lot of support from customers,” says Chidambaram.

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