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American tower selects expressor for its new enterprise data warehouse program.

American Tower is a leading owner and operator of communications sites for the wireless and broadcast industries, with more than 27,000 towers and 1,400 employees in the US, Mexico, Brazil and India. The company launched an ambitious, multi-year enterprise data warehouse program to consolidate more than 50 single-purpose data marts and improve the accuracy and timeliness of its business reporting.


As a global organization, American Tower's reporting challenge was complicated by a number of different currencies, languages, time zones and business processes. Its unique business model, operating as a real estate company leasing space on its towers, required the company to heavily customize its Oracle E-Business and .Net applications to accommodate as many as 100 tables per application. American Tower's goals for its enterprise data warehouse program were to integrate all corporate data so it could be reported on consistently from one place.


American Tower became aware of the expressor semantic data integration system[TM] in 2009 and installed the product for a proof of concept. Focusing first on the performance of Oracle extracts, American Tower demonstrated that expressor was 8-24 times faster than Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), using one to four expressor data processing channels.

The company also found expressor's scripting language to be very powerful, providing advanced capabilities and ease-of-use. American Tower especially liked expressor's ability to perform bulk updates and the fact that it was based on an open metadata repository, since the company had focused on creating metadata to improve debugging and generate better performance statistics.


The "clincher" for American Tower was expressor's low cost of adoption--which made it a very easy decision to acquire.


Plugging expressor into American Tower's ETL process provided benefits in all three stages. In the extract stage, expressor's improvement in performance pulling data from the company's Oracle database was significant.

This is also where the benefits of expressor's unique semantic rationalization capabilities were exposed--the company very much liked the fact that expressor allowed them to create consistent field names for ETL developers. Different parts of American Tower use cellular tower numbers in different ways and store them in different formats--without leading zeroes as integers or with leading zeroes as character fields, for example. Both numbers are valid, but deciding which one gets used is a critical question the ETL developer cannot easily answer. American Tower used expressor's semantic rationalization to create two different, clearly named fields: "Short TowerNumber" and "LongTower Number," which eliminated any potential for confusion. This is a simple example, but American Tower found the same type of problem repeated in many different business processes.

In the middle step for transform, American Tower found expressor scripting environment much more powerful and easier to use than SSIS for developing business logic and processing.

And in the final load step, expressor's bulk update capability made it possible for American Tower to accommodate changing data dimensions and types by setting the old rows to be not current and to end-date them.

expressor is ready to grow with American Tower. If factors such as increasing data volumes or geographic expansion ever create performance issues, the company can easily scale up with expressor by simply adding additional "channels" of processing power--without changing the underlying applications.

EXPRESSOR SOFTWARE is the leading provider of semantic data integration software. The company has customers in financial services, retail, database marketing, healthcare and telecommunications, including American Tower, Skechers, Integrated DNA, Moffitt Cancer Center, Sybron Dental Specialties and Viverae.
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Publication:Database Trends & Applications
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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