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March 01, 2018

The Business Value of the Analytics Enclave

By Dennis Tally
Director, Enterprise Data Strategy and Governance

If you walk the halls of Freddie Mac, you may occasionally hear colleagues mention some cool work they're doing in the Single–Family Analytics Enclave. Conversations will typically focus on their interesting business outcome and how it was meaningful to their team, or what business intelligence (BI), advanced analytics, and big data capabilities are available in the Enclave and how to get access. If you're listening long enough, you may hear it all.

The Enclave is an environment within production where business users can build solutions leveraging the latest BI or analytics tools against full–volume production data. Business users can do things such as prototype PySpark models on Hadoop or enhance a mobile BI dashboard with the speed and flexibility not possible in traditional reporting projects.

The opportunity to develop and operate these solutions sits with the business, allowing for enhancements on customer–relevant timelines. Big Data Center of Excellence data engineers and empowered citizen data engineers rapidly ingest new datasets for analysis. This gets our data, big and small, into the hands of our very talented data scientists faster than ever, at the speed of business.

Enclave development change management processes are business–managed and controls are "fit for purpose." The business can assess risk and define processes, and controls commensurate with need. Discovery analytics don't need the same level of control as business reporting for senior management. This position allows for a certain level of data agility that has been impactful to the Single–Family business.

IT supports industrialized data load processes, platform management and software installations for the Enclave. However, what happens in the Enclave is the business's responsibility to address, including controls, audits and any forecasting for future needs. That all means that if there are functional issues — such as validating the quality of user data or correcting SQL mistakes — it is up to the business developer to resolve.

Why the Analytics Enclave?

I know that is what I asked for; it is not what I need.

The Enclave was designed to meet emerging reporting and analytical needs, and prototype reporting requirements reduce some inefficiencies associated with traditional projects. Freddie Mac is laser–focused on the constantly evolving needs of our customers, and we realize we need more innovative approaches to ensure our customers and management have the greatest possible insight in time to make a difference.

Why not the Analytics Enclave?

Most business functions find they can establish the appropriate controls to leverage reporting and analytics assets produced in the Enclave. The decision to leverage the Enclave, and the associated benefits and risks, are ultimately owned by the business team consuming those results. We've been aggressive in pursuing our primary objective: To empower the business to extract maximum business value from data. However, in some limited cases, we have determined it is not appropriate to leverage the Enclave and we work with those users to identify the appropriate "fit for purpose" solution.

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