How ATB Financial is Utilizing Hybrid Cloud to Reduce the Time to Value for Big Data Analytics by 90 Percent

How ATB Financial is Utilizing Hybrid Cloud to Reduce the Time to Value for Big Data Analytics by 90 Percent

ATB Financial is Alberta’s largest home grown financial institution, and prides itself on its customer obsession, putting the over 750,000 Albertans at the centre of all that they do. As a result, ATB is constantly transforming in order to ensure it can continue to deliver unparalleled value to Albertans.

A key pillar in the transformation journey is focused on robust data operations that can help ATB deliver timely, relevant and delightful service. As such, ATB Financial realized the need to build an enterprise data delivery platform that would enable transparent data ownership for trusted, structured, organized and centralized data operations. The company sought a data management platform that would allow its enterprise to handle greater data variety, velocity and volume in a cost-effective manner. Who knew that in that search, the company would become the first organization to globally run SAS Viya, a cloud-optimized software, with HDP on GCP to enable modern analytics use cases powered by SAS analytics tools.

The company has shifted from developing tools to now providing services, which has brought additional productivity and enhanced the customer experience. Enabling this transformation is the HDP platform, along with SAS Viya on Google Cloud, which has delivered machine learning models and personalization at scale.  This has resulted in empowering team members to use innovative techniques to solve problems with advanced model management, to scale up quickly to meet performance needs.

Data Powered Decision-Making

For any progressive financial institution, data is the most important asset available to understand customers. This data is sensitive in nature – so the highest of security protocols need to be maintained, while enabling the majority of business decisions to leverage this key information through the organization’s analytics and reporting capabilities.

Hortonworks has a strong support model and commitment to open source for large organizations, enabling it to be the chosen provider of service for ATB. As part of the collaborative effort across both organizations, the first step was to build out a fraud detection and alert system. Through this, the company has gained visibility into fraudulent debit card activity and has executed a prevention program. With the right technology now in place, ATB Financial is landing and curating more data than ever to bring data-driven insights to the business and its customers.

Implementing a Modern Data Architecture

After this initial success, the scope of collaboration expanded to the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for secure data management and Hortonworks DataFlow (HDF) for ingestion into its data delivery platform. This has become a core component of the fraud management framework for the business, and has helped solidify its role as the trusted keeper of sensitive data.

ATB Financial also now runs 40 nodes of HDP on its’ Google Cloud Platform (GCP) — as well as an HDF cluster — as an ingest framework to shift data from an on-premises data warehouse into its HDP cloud cluster for storage and processing. Hortonworks Professional Services played a key role in helping the ATB team design and implement the clusters and various use cases to achieve business value.

With this expanded scope, the organization has introduced its Cloud Storage Connector, which has become a fully integrated component for data access and processing of Hadoop and Spark workloads. This new, deeper integration between Hortonworks and Google Cloud powers hybrid deployment models and gives customers the requisite consistency to leverage familiar on-premises enterprise applications in the cloud.

Reducing Analytic Time to Value by More Than 90 Percent

Undergoing this transformation has helped to significantly reduce data analytics processing time with smaller jobs; for example, some workloads that took as long as 10 minutes to run now take less than a minute — reducing the time to value for big data analytics by 90 percent. ATB Financial is also the first to use SAS Viya to interface between SAS tools and HDP.

This has increased operational efficiencies significantly because now teams are able to leverage data much more quickly than before. ATB Financial’s goal through this journey has been to lean into its customer obsession and find new value models that enable it to be more than a bank to the customers it serves. Through the implementation of this modern data architecture running both on-premises and in the cloud, decision making is faster and more informed – the company will see rapid and sustained transformation for this financial institution that thrives on disrupting the status quo.

To learn about ATB, visit To learn about ATB’s transformation journey, visit

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Matt Spillar
Customer Programs Manager
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