Big Data Program Development

Case Study:

Big Data Program Development

Project Mission and Background

The client had struggled with managing customer data across numerous transactional systems including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Collection, and Entitlement systems. The client had numerous instances of all types due to their Merger and Acquisition (M&A) business strategy. While they had standardized on a primary ERP system, their ability to convert a newly acquired asset to the standard system(s) happened inconsistently.


Customer data had no consistency (referential integrity) and changes made in one system did not propagate to the other systems in a systematic fashion. This resulted in their inability to view the entire customer lifecycle from prospect to product consumption. Further, this limited their ability to grow their existing customer base and acquire net-new customers using sophisticated data analysis tools. Lewis Fowler was brought in to:

  • Assess the current systems hosting customer information
  • Evaluate potential technology solutions in the Big Data space
  • Develop an architecture to solve the referential integrity problem utilizing a non-traditional Master Data Management (MDM) approach
  • Develop a business case that resulted in investment payback in year two.
  • Acquire executive trust and buy-in
  • Establish a Program Management framework and artifacts utilizing the best of PMP, Agile, and Six Sigma approaches
  • Augment their existing staff with Data/Solution Architect and Program Management talent
  • Support the new IT PMO with financial tracking tools and job aids


The client had attempted point solutions in the past and had little appetite for a multi-faceted, cross-organizational program resulting in manual solutions with little ability to scale. They had no standardized methodology for evaluating and approving strategic investments. Their program and project management was very compartmentalized and hence provided no authority across organizational boundaries.


Another challenge was financial management at a program or project level. With such an investment proposed, it was important to identify how to track the costs and quantify appropriate measures to meaningful business benefit.


Ultimately, their executive management recognized that their current staff did not have the bandwidth, skill, and credibility to establish the necessary foundation and success factors for a large program undertaking.

Our Approach

With an outsider’s advantage, Lewis Fowler was able to offer a fresh perspective on solution architecture. We developed and documented a program charter, project organization chart, roles and responsibilities descriptions, high-level technical solution architecture, financial investment and tracking spreadsheets, program communication plan, program timeline, and project plan to support the efforts. In addition, we utilized the client’s Microsoft SharePoint installation to create a common program repository and linked Microsoft Project items with the team’s program site, facilitating transparent communication.


We proposed an execution approach to address not only the technology implementation, but also data governance and business process optimization, thus ensuring success of the intended business benefit. In addition, our ability to work collaboratively with executive management, program team members, sponsors, and stakeholders, and quickly establish relationships built upon trust, was key to our approach. 

Direct Benefits

Lewis Fowler directly addressed key concerns raised by the client’s leadership :

Results of the Big Data Program Creation


Partnering with Lewis Fowler, the CIO and IT PMO:

  • Helped established IT as a business partner
  • Improved the discipline required to manage a large, cross-organization program
  • Utilized the client’s current technology investments to enhance productivity
  • Introduced new solutions to an ever-present data management problem


Program Management Reality Tour

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