Case Study: Kabam modernizes data pipelines on Google Cloud with SADA’s help

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/ AT A GLANCE

Kabam improves and expands data pipelines that gather and integrate user acquisition and games data for data warehousing and reporting with SADA’s help.

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INDUSTRY Gaming

STANDARDIZED Data environment for future game analytics

MODERNIZED Data pipelines for a single source of truth

Mobile gaming is one of the fastest-growing segments in the media and entertainment industry. The global market reached $184 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to $775 billion by 2032, according to Precedence Research. 

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Kabam has been called “the best in mobile gaming.” The company develops and distributes free-to-play games for mobile devices and web platforms for some of the world’s most influential media brands, including Disney, Hasbro, Marvel, and Universal. In this way, Kabam helps to build the global gaming community that connects so many. 

Business challenge

Since their beginning in 2006, Kabam has leveraged Google Cloud for software development. To address the challenges that accompany rapid growth at Kabam, Nancy Liang came onboard as the Data Analytics Director. Her topline goal was to improve and expand upon the existing Google Cloud data pipelines that gather and integrate user acquisition and games data for data warehousing and data reporting.

“My vision was to establish a solid enterprise data foundation to improve the current data environment, establish standardization for data engineering, and provide data-as-a-service for the business,” says Liang. “Based on one of our games, Disney Mirrorverse, we sought to modernize our data environment as a proof-of-value to test if we could standardize and optimize our data warehouse. The goal is to integrate and consolidate different silos of data reporting for various departments, such as user acquisition, finance, marketing, and gaming, into a single source of truth.”

Data transformation is a journey, not just one click

In order to break down the data reporting silos between departments, Kabam needed to update their data warehouse management, implement proper data modeling, establish appropriate workflow orchestration, and standardize data integrations.

“Kabam’s data transformation is a journey: we can’t fix it in just one click,” says Liang. “To be able to fix it, I wanted to have an Enterprise Data Warehouse–a solid data foundation–to be built and then we’ll be able to move all of the different silos into it.”

Solution

The Engineering Department at Kabam had already established a relationship with SADA, An Insight company, with an earlier security assessment deep dive. Based on that, they recommended that Liang engage the multiple-time Google Cloud Partner of the Year to tap into their Google Cloud expertise for this project.

First, SADA’s Engineering Experts conducted an architectural review and evaluation of Kabam’s infrastructure running on Google Cloud. The document outlining the Google Cloud configuration options, decisions, and recommendations served as a statement of work (SOW) with agreed-upon deliverables for Kabam’s deployment.

Standardizing data pipelines for specific requirements 

SADA created integrations for user acquisition and games data from internal and third-party sources. In addition, SADA developed data pipelines and data models to expose data both through an Enterprise Data Warehouse and into a data mart by leveraging modernized technologies in Google Cloud to support Kabam in optimizing data engineering best practices. 

SADA’s Project Manager and Enterprise Cloud Architects were very open-minded, flexible, and provided a high-level of support. Advances in Google Cloud technology, like Composer for data orchestration and Dataform to transform data into BigQuery, were new to us. We appreciated their recommendations and approach for data pipeline standardization that would meet Kabam’s specific use case requirements.

Nancy Liang | Data Analytics Director at Kabam

Impact

As a result of Kabam engaging with SADA, this project was completed on budget and on time as per the 17-week schedule. The project enabled Kabam to deploy pipelines into production that ingest data from Storage into data warehouses, and establish proper orchestration and log systems to support the pipeline standardization. 

“Collaborating with SADA made it easy technically for Kabam to create a single source of truth by modernizing our data pipeline for user acquisition and gaming data,” says Liang. 

Understanding and optimizing use cases 

Through this project, Liang and her team at Kabam came to understand how the current user acquisition data pipeline was created and how to optimize pipelines for dynamic management views (DMVs) in the data mart. Then she discovered the best approach for Data Engineers to optimize the data pipeline. 

“The resulting DMVs, data pipelines, and data models are now in production, and we have logging and alert monitoring systems and new dashboards that show all our of stakeholders very detailed analytics,” says Liang.

Most importantly, SADA helped us complete the necessary data engineering standardization, which gives us a repeatable foundation. Now we can replicate the same data analytics model for future game releases.

Nancy Liang | Data Analytics Director at Kabam

Overall, SADA was able to help Kabam:

  • Introduce new Google Cloud technology components for potential use cases
  • Improve existing data pipelines for data warehousing and data reporting
  • Standardize the data environment for future game analytics
  • Develop new data pipelines and data models
  • Optimize automation and workflows

Kabam modernized data pipelines to break down data reporting siloes and integrate advanced Google Cloud technology with SADA’s help

SADA has a very detail-oriented Project Management program. I really appreciate how open-minded SADA is from a technology-selection perspective and how they can leverage Google Cloud whenever needed.

— Nancy Liang | Data Analytics Director at Kabam

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