Lexmark retools, reskills for data transformation

To eliminate data silos and achieve more business value from the terabytes generated every week, Lexmark established a single, end-to-end source of data truth. Here’s what it took to get there.

Global printer and imaging products manufacturer, Lexmark International, generates a lot of data. Its Lexmark Managed Print Services alone consists of more than a million printers and multifunction devices that generate more than a terabyte of data per week. Lexmark has more than six million additional devices in the wild, and customers of those devices can opt-in to share their data with Lexmark as well.

The volume and velocity of that data made managing and gaining insight from it a daunting task until it created the Lexmark Product Digital Thread (PDT), a live, integrated repository and audit trail of the real-time data generated across the end-to-end lifecycle of its products, from design to recycling. Lexmark has won a CIO 100 Award in IT Excellence for the PDT.

“It’s really creating this correlated, business-consumable data across the lifecycle of our products, both our hardware and our supplies, as well as our key components,” says Andy Kopp, director of transformation products at Lexmark. “This really manifests itself in three distinct tiers within our Azure data lake, what we call our raw, refined, and consumption layers. These tiers of data support users across the spectrum of the types of business users and analytics that we need to do.”

Lexmark’s data challenge

It wasn’t just data volume that was giving Lexmark trouble. Its data was also spread out across an array of business applications typical of global manufacturers: CADD, PLM, ERP, CRM, and more. Additionally, the company’s supply chain is highly distributed. Partnering arrangements for the design, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution of its products mean its data is disseminated beyond its walls.

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