How Smiths Group Consolidated its Data with Azure

Smiths Group is a huge British corporation that engineers products to help the modern world. Working with customers across 200 countries and territories, they produce everything from medical devices to connectivity solutions for satellites. With 23,000 employees across the globe and hundreds of customers, many with their own data storage and applications, Smiths Group needed to gain visibility of their data. The company turned to Microsoft Azure to help them deliver a comprehensive solution. With the help of Azure, they have  transformed into a data-driven organisation with the power to make strategic data-led business decisions. 

What Challenges Was Smiths Group Facing?

Smiths Group has been helping to power the modern world for almost 170 years, growing organically to acquire more and more business groups and evolving with changing customer needs. Today, whether it’s during air travel, visiting the doctor, cooking your dinner or using your phone, there is a good chance you are using a Smiths Group product.  

With such an extensive network of customers with varying technical solutions, reporting systems and data storage, Smiths Group certainly has its work cut out. In fact, the company works with over 800 applications to manage the load. The problem, however, was that to produce necessary reports and gain a holistic view of the company’s data, information had to be manually extracted from several sources. The process wasn’t time or cost efficient and led to potential errors and inaccuracies. To continue living up to their ethos of pushing boundaries, driving progress and delivering excellence, Smiths Group needed to find a way to consolidate its data. 

How Microsoft Helped Smiths Group Consolidate its Data

Smiths Group had data in various business divisions and data sources such as enterprise resource planning systems, finance systems and SAP applications. As a Microsoft customer already, the company naturally turned to them to explore how it could centralise its data. Microfost stepped up to the plate with some incredibly useful tools and solutions:

  • Azure Data Lake Storage – enabling Smiths Group to consolidate its data from the various areas of the business and data sources.

  • Azure Data Factory – integrating data into Azure Data Lake with an intuitive visual environment and over 90 natively-built connectors. 

  • Azure Databricks – processing, transforming and structuring data into a usable format in an interactive workplace that facilitates cross-company collaboration. 

  • Microsoft Power BI – reporting and analysing data to enable users to create reports, removing the errors from manual reporting and quickly delivering value so time can be spent on strategic tasks. 

And, Microsoft support didn’t stop there. Having a strong partner network, Smiths Group turned to Kagool for help moving data from its SAP systems to Azure Data Lake. Working with the Microsoft Partner Network meant that Smiths Group had the confidence that their data ingestion would be fully understood, perfectly designed and efficiently executed. 

The Power to Build Innovative Solutions

By working with Microsoft, Smiths Group has been able to create numerous innovative solutions for its customers. One such example is CORYS, a pioneering enterprise-level security command centre. The cloud-based digital ecosystem pulls data from a vast array of devices and processes to deliver critical port and border security. 

The modern security system uses machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science to help port and border operators achieve more sophisticated risk assessment profiles. It is the first time that next-gen technology has been used to drive 100 per cent data inspection of all shipments and is a huge step forward for digital transformation within the industry. And, as international travel and trade continue to grow, the platform has been designed to be easily scaled based on future operations and needs. By partnering with Microsoft Azure, CORYS is able to bring all security operation information together into a single, integrated and secure platform so that customs teams can identify anomalies, manage risks and improve performance. 

By using Microsoft Azure, CORYS has some powerful technology behind it:

  • Secure Cloud – delivering the highest security and data privacy standards for business-to-government operations.

  • Blockchain – encrypting data so it can be exchanged securely and efficiently between trusted partners.

  • Universal File Format – ensuring that the CORYS solution can be used with any type of security scanner.

  • Machine Learning – providing automated data-driven decision making thanks to continuous insights and predictions.

  • IoT Device Connectivity – connecting to any device and data feed to ensure that information is consolidated in a single platform.

  • Open Platform – offering a software development kit for third-party applications.

  • Dashboards – delivering real-time reporting across all security operations in an easy-to-read format. 

  • Predictive Maintenance – using AI to predict when devices need maintenance, reducing equipment failures and delivering optimal uptime. 

Could Azure Help Your Business?

By consolidating its data with Azure and using Power BI to facilitate reporting and analysis, Smiths Group can deliver data that is easy to access and accurate. Not only does the company get better accuracy in their data, but they have more confidence in it. 

If your company wants to be truly data-driven, Azure and Power BI can help not just create reports but to do it consistently every time. And, for your employees, this means that they can focus on analysing data rather than creating reports. With Azure, you are able to derive value from your data quickly with actionable insights that can help increase revenue, reduce costs and minimise risk.

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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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