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CASE STUDIES

How One of the World’s Largest Real Estate Franchises Governs Its Data with Anomalo and Alation

January 19, 2024

Key Results

10x Cost Reduction Compared to Legacy Solutions

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70+ TB

Governance and monitoring for 70+ TB of enterprise-grade data domains

1300+

The native integration between Alation and Anomalo made it especially easy to ensure coverage of KW’s 1300+ tables

10x

10x reduction in cost compared to other solutions considered

“We were in need of two core platform competencies, we didn’t need ten. We wanted those things to be best of breed at what they did — it’s a great benefit that these two things integrate with each other so seamlessly.”

Cliff Miller - Enterprise Data Architect, Keller Williams

The Challenge

“Data associated with property listings are the lifeblood of Keller Williams’ Enterprise Information Management (EIM) team,” said Cliff Miller, enterprise data architect. In addition, KW has around a dozen data domains, such as financial, partner, and platform data.

The company profiles on top of 70+ TB of data every day. Data plays a crucial role in helping the business make informed decisions, but this is only possible after that data is validated for quality and made easily accessible to stakeholders.

Miller joined Keller Williams in the spring of 2022, along with Dan Djuric, Head of Enterprise Data and Advanced Analytics. By then, KW already had a largely modernized data stack built around the Google Cloud Platform, including BigQuery, Cloud SQL, and Dataflow/Composer. While they had some legacy infrastructure, most is on a roadmap for cloud transformation.

Both Djuric and Miller identified data governance and cataloging as one of KW’s most significant areas for improvement. The company needed a system to manage its 1300+ Enterprise Data Lakehouse tables and help provide confidence that its data is ready for activation. The goal was, in Miller’s words, “a data framework that the entire organization can rely on, shifting towards empirical, objective-based evidence.”

While searching for a data cataloging solution, the EIM team recognized another core need in upgrading their data maturity: an enterprise-grade data quality platform. Miller described data issues as the “sleeper issues” that technology teams at large wish they knew about well before they surface and cause all sorts of collateral damage.

The EIM team wanted a preventative solution that could work at scale and in tandem with a data catalog platform. The goal was not only to empower the entirety of Keller Williams with access to data but also to build trust in that information.

The Solution

Having clearly defined their needs, the EIM team explored a variety of solutions for data cataloging and monitoring. It didn’t take long for them to rule out the legacy suites from many of the software giants. Data cataloging and quality were not the primary focus for these legacy providers. And were KW to opt for one of their bundles, they’d be locked into a complex ecosystem of other products they didn’t need along with the price tag to match.

“We were in need of two core platform competencies, we didn’t need ten. We wanted those things to be best of breed at what they did,” said Miller.

Because the EIM team was looking for vendors whose core competency was data governance, KW ultimately selected Alation as its data catalog and Anomalo for data quality monitoring. With Anomalo and Alation, Keller Williams could buy the solutions they needed through a flexible licensing process far less rigid than other vendors.

Critically, Anomalo and Alation have a native integration that lets mutual customers seamlessly view data quality in the context of the data catalog:

For the EIM team, this was compelling because Alation and Anomalo effectively behave as one unified product. When starting with Anomalo, KW used Alation’s popularity feature to identify which of their 1300+ tables to prioritize. So far, they’ve configured deep data quality monitoring for 250 tables and higher-level table observability for another set that didn’t require quite that level of profiling.

Because Anomalo and Alation continue to invest in their partnership, the value proposition only increases over time. For instance, Alation’s data lineage features now enhance Anomalo’s ability to trace how data quality affects KW’s entire stack. That way, when Anomalo detects a discrepancy, it’s easy to understand how that fits into upstream data sources and downstream data consumers.

The Outcome

Since transitioning to Anomalo and Alation, KW has moved significantly along the data management maturity curve. The two data governance solutions are a few key components behind a cultural shift at Keller Williams — the entire company, not just the EIM team, can now naturally incorporate data into their workflows to steer business decisions.

Both Anomalo and Alation emphasize universal accessibility, meaning that everyone, from non-technical users to veteran data scientists, can find the platforms intuitive to use. The EIM team viewed it as a major success because the solutions also seek to elevate the company’s overall data literacy.

KW achieved these results at an estimated cost savings of 10x compared to bundled legacy solutions. Not only that, the software’s value is projected to grow over time.

Miller set out to achieve a few goals with Alation: “We wanted to make our data available to people, to spread knowledge, and to provide availability to our team members so people know what we’ve got, what they can trust, and how everything is defined and layers together. We wanted a place where we could centralize all that information documentation. Alation seemed to nail that.”

The trust element Miller mentioned also speaks to the quality of Anomalo’s integration with Alation. The integration is so smooth that it feels like a single-product experience.

The EIM team derives value in two main ways from Anomalo.

“Anomalo has made a ton of difference around what we’ve been able to observe and keep track of. There’s the day-to-day, ‘How is everything looking?’ And there are also indicators about how our business is trending. You can do both—it’s not an either/or proposition.”

Cliff Miller - Enterprise Data Architect, Keller Williams

That combination of data observability and deeper metrics monitoring is made possible by Anomalo’s machine learning capabilities, which can automatically detect unusual patterns and identify the root cause of issues. Whereas some data monitoring solutions suffer at scale, Anomalo’s algorithms get more statistical power from large datasets.

As Keller Williams continues its journey along a data modernization path, Anomalo and Alation are poised to ease that transition. Together, they’ll make sure no data gets corrupted and that it’s organized in such a way to be useful. In Miller’s words, “Information is a differentiator and something that provides our organization with exceptional ability to go above and beyond others in the industry.”

Written By

The Anomalo Team