First American Case Study

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Customer Case Study

Company: First American Financial Corporation
Location: Santa Ana, CA

First American Title Insurance Company is a multi-billion dollar organization that leads and defines the insurance market necessary for real estate related transactions. They facilitate and streamline transactions with comprehensive title insurance protection and professional settlement services, serving a wide variety of customers, including home buyers/sellers, real estate agents/brokers, mortgage lenders, commercial property professionals, homebuilders, title agencies, and legal professionals.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Real-Time Reporting Achieved

With system optimization and a narrowed search query in Snowflake, we were able to help the client achieve real-time reporting.

Groundwork for Future Expansion

While the client only initially needed short-term data management solutions, there are plans for future large-scale operations. We developed our data solutions with this expansion in mind.

Remained Within Tight Parameters

One of the client’s most important requirements was to remain within scope and budget. We avoided unexpected risks and successfully achieved our window.

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CHALLENGE

Providing Timely Reporting from Massive Data Libraries 

First American Title Insurance Company was managing an unwieldy volume of data that prevented real and near-real reporting. Their end users required the ability to obtain refreshed data in at least near-real-time intervals while adhering to the DV2.0 methodology managed by Scrum/Agile.

Effectively Addressing Short-Term Reporting Needs While Simultaneously Creating the Foundation for Advanced Reporting in the Future 

While struggling with massive data volume, First American needed to modernize their limited scope reporting system right away but also had plans for a large-scope solution in the future. With this in consideration, PG2 needed to find a short-term solution while simultaneously laying the foundation for the future and setting the standards for longer-term extensions.

Navigating Tight Parameters 

One of the most important target goals was the completion of a focused solution while remaining within First America’s tight schedule, limited budget, and small scope (a project referred to as a Lean DW).

“The client needed initially expert-level consultants to help form the architecture and the DV2-based solution. Later, they needed seasoned senior DV2 architects to lead and guide them through the development. First American was already familiar with Performance G2 through their initial DV2 Certification Training, as well as the excellent reputation PG2 has in this industry. Our initial engagement was to help define the overall direction, and was key to helping the client gain more confidence in their need for our services.” – [QUOTE FROM WHOM?]

SOLUTION

Expanded Resources and Developed Reasonable Search Volume

With the amount of data to sort through, First American wasn’t able to achieve near-real-time reporting during peak times. So, PG2, alongside the client, redefined the search scope to include only the most recent three years of policy and transaction data — and limited searches to only the latest values of each entity. Meanwhile, additional history and data were maintained in the database for future use.

In addition to optimization of search queries, we found client components that were short on resources and developed solutions. These components included Architecture and DV Design. Plus, we introduced the client to stronger management practices, including agile development, scrum method, and requirements-based solutions.

Creating the Foundation to Enable More Advanced Reporting Needs in the Future

PG2 not only solved First American’s reporting needs but also trained their internal sources to carry on architecting and developing. We mentored and trained their junior developers. Additionally, we developed a customized and reduced version of the BEAM methodology, planting seeds for more through business analysis and modeling during future projects.

“Because of the tight schedule, we couldn’t spend much time defining precisely the future architecture — while we realized that restricting the architecture to present needs would create only a throw-away short-term solution. Hence, we helped the client to define an overall long-term framework and roadmap in which the architectural components required for short-term solutions were defined more precisely, and the future components were less precise — to be expanded when the exact needs would be better understood.” – [QUOTE FROM WHOM?]
Stayed Within Considerable Limitations and Constraints 

All of these tasks were assigned under First American’s considerable budget and scope constraints. In order to work with these limitations, we remained in constant communication with the managing stakeholders through daily scrum meetings and weekly/periodic more detailed meetings. Expectations were set in advance, and we informed stakeholders whenever changes were required so that we could collaboratively alleviate any issues.

Initially, to achieve this, the team was co-located, and interactions were high. Then we used a dynamic model of co-location and remote/virtual work (which later became entirely virtual in light of the COVID-19 pandemic).

RESULTS

No Expanded Scope But Client Decided to Extended Architects  

We prevented any significant scope creep during the project. Any garden variety minor changes were handled effectively with the client. The client decided to extend our architects several times, even after the budget was consumed twice. No unforeseen risks appeared, while any potential risks were foreseen from the start of the project and mitigated.

Won Over All of the Team 

We built professional and trusting relationships from the start by listening respectfully and proposing alternative solutions. When resolving any technical issues, it was purely technical and friendly — no ego or personal disputes, as can happen with poorly managed projects.

One business liaison was initially skeptical about using more formal analysis and requirement-gathering methods. However, this liaison became overwhelmingly supportive of the new BEAM method we customized and the dimensional solutions we produced.

Preparation for Future Work Established

Meanwhile, First American team members acquired knowledge and experience from the project, and management gained a broader understanding of the needs of future expansion.  Additionally, they asked us to keep their laptops for future engagement pending budget approval — rather than return them at the end of the engagement.

ABOUT PERFORMANCE G2

PerformanceG2, Inc. is the Business Intelligence Consultancy for companies looking to modernize their enterprise data warehouse (EDW). We help companies rapidly build their EDW using Agile, Data Warehouse Automation, Cloud Platforms, and the Data Vault 2.0 system of Business Intelligence. PerformanceG2, Inc. provides Data Vault 2.0 training and full lifecycle Data Vault 2.0 implementation and support services.