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ServicesAI & ML

Product enrichment, data training and automation for Simfoni

ServiceAI & ML
IndustrySoftware & Internet

Product enrichment, data training and automation for Simfoni

Meet Simfoni

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Simfoni provide spend analytics and spend automation products to leading global enterprises. The Simfoni platform utilises machine learning and artificial intelligence to accelerate and automate key aspects of the procurement process, saving customers time and money, whilst paving the way towards supply chain sustainability.

With global offices in the USA, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, Simfoni works with its customers and the wider vendor community to improve vendor diversity and achieve strategic corporate social responsibility objectives.

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Business challenges

The Simfoni team are no strangers to the cutting edge world of machine learning and artificial intelligence processes. Processes that help to calculate spend, automate purchases and modernise the procurement journey of their customers.

However, Simfoni found themselves still using several manual and laborious internal processes, via virtual machines, when it came to the successful implementation and automation of their cloud enabled processes. The Simfoni team were looking to lessen the burden of manual cloud infrastructure changes and modernisation attempts, so they could shift their focus from maintaining the underlying structures, and instead prioritise time on their customer’s products and needs.

Why Firemind?

In June 2021, Simfoni attended the first in-person Machine Learning GameDay for start-ups, co-hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Firemind. The teams went through several Machine Learning challenges, fully gamified, with the support of Firemind’s talented Solutions Architects, Cloud Engineers and specialists.

During this event, Simfoni striked a cord with our team, beginning the journey to the following customer success story between Firemind and Simfoni.

To better assist Simfoni in the shift from manual to automated tasks, as well as introduce more modernised and cloud optimised data ingestion and categorisation methods, Firemind worked on two integral proof-of-concepts.

The first was to build a product enrichment machine learning solution. This ML process would enhance how Simfoni not only pulled their data, but how it was grouped, stored, retrieved and user displayed in a Business Intelligence (BI) platform.

Simfoni’s customer data would be ingested by SFTP or directly into an Amazon S3 bucket. From here, customer data ingested would be grouped via a folder prefix, ensuring accurate grouping and batches of data. These data files then needed to be converted to a file format that was easier to handle and more flexible in terms of future value outcomes. Parquet was chosen during the ML enrichment phases of the process.

Parquet is optimised to work with complex data, in bulk, and features different ways for efficient data compression and encoding types. Using this approach helped with queries that need to read certain columns from a large table of data. Parquet can only read the needed columns within a BI platform, therefore greatly minimising the input/output (IO) required.

Once the ML phase was complete, the new output was stored again using S3, triggering an AWS Lambda event. This trigger sets off a unique classification scoring process, with meta data from the ML model being pushed through Amazon DynamoDB. DynamoDB is a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at any scale, the perfect choice for this use case.

The trigger also pushes ML enriched data in PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is an advanced, enterprise class open source relational database that supports both SQL (relational) and JSON (non-relational) querying. Firemind uses it as it is a highly stable database management system, backed by more than 20 years of community development which has contributed to its high levels of resilience, integrity, and correctness. From this process, Simfoni’s customer’s UI can list all the ingestions, as well as their classification accuracy and meta data, via their selected BI platform.

Part 2

The secondary proof-of-concept, shifted the focus towards a new data machine learning solution. This solution would allow Simfoni users to use AWS Transfer, for raw files into S3. After a pre determined time, these files are adjusted to a different bucket tier for archiving.

A Lambda function converts all ingested xlsx files to Parquet format, allowing easier and more manageable data processing. When the Lambda completes it’s actions, it outputs to a new S3 bucket where the converted files are stored for the next stages.

The next stage (and objectively the most important), is the use of either AWS Glue DataBrew(cleaning/normalising datasets) or Amazon SageMaker. Both allowing for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) whilst also providing the tools and technical functions of advanced data modelling.

Finally, once the customer data has undergone ingestion, cleaning, modelling and deployment, it is stored in a new S3 bucket, ready for use.

Firemind x Autone

We met with Technical Co-founder, Harry Cheslaw, of the SaaS provider Autone. Together we look at the cloud journey both Firemind and Autone have undertaken, in order to rapidly accelerate their cloud adoption as a startup.

We dive into the challenges Autone faced, the core components to their partnership with Firemind as well as take a glimpse at what the future holds for their AWS architecture and technology.

Added value

Both of Firemind’s proof-of-concepts provided Simfoni a less manual and more automated cloud journey for data ingestion as well as ML modelling. Read on further to discover some of the greatest value adds for the Simfoni organisation.

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Goodbye manual processes

Our POCs ensured that the slow, manual processes that the Simfoni team experienced were much less of a business challenge, via automated, scalable processes. Our combination of the right AWS tools and services have meant that Simfoni can worry less about ‘day to day’ data organisation, and more about the way they build new products and smart services for their range of customers.

Long standing infrastructure

Before our project had even kicked off, our team of Solution Architects and Data Engineers were able to map all necessary cloud processes using a well architected framework. This meant that when we were given the green light, we could immediately begin the build, working quickly to provide adequate testing time before a takeover was implemented to replace their existing Virtual Computer system.

Smart process, smart costs

Now the Simfoni team had a modern, scalable, machine learning process in place, they were no longer constrained by daily manual tasking and laborious administrative. This freed resource translates into substantial cost savings, from a human resource perspective, as well as providing more time within the team to focus on their own offerings development and additives (increasing revenue, simplifying their customer services and providing a data UI that informs).

Customer satisfaction

“Firemind were very professional, responsive and effective. Great to work with.”

Alan Buxton

CTO - Simfoni

How can we help you?

Firemind is perfectly suited to enable less manual, more automated processes within your cloud architecture.

Get in touch