CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. Its approach involves putting information, skills and tools into people’s hands. CABI’s 48 member countries guide and influence the organization’s work which is delivered by scientific staff based in its global network of centres. For more information, visit www.cabi.org.
Building on 100 years of data and counting, CABI was looking to create an infrastructure that could quickly integrate and deliver essential, potentially life-saving information throughout the world, as well as plan for future requirements. Specifically, CABI was looking to replace its aging relational database, pull hosted services and content in-house, and continue to improve global agricultural and environmental problem-solving with powerful knowledge and insight.
You don’t need to be the biggest, richest organization to get value from the MarkLogic database platform. We’ve appreciated the support we’ve received from the company, and all I can see are better things to come.
To identify the optimal solution, CABI hired a consultant and conducted a proof of concept (POC). The company first explored open source, but according to CABI Chief Information Officer Andrea Powell, “The open source solution was lacking the robustness we were looking for. And the usual story: When you’re looking at total cost of ownership (TCO), it wasn’t going to save us any money.” CABI ultimately determined that the MarkLogic® database was able to provide the necessary flexibility and agility with enterprise-hardened features like high availability and security. Additionally, CABI was able to download the free version of the MarkLogic database. According to Powell, “We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly we could throw up a test version. Because we were able to download the free version, we had some practical experience rather than making a decision based on a checklist.”
CABI is managing 12 million records within the MarkLogic database, and using it to rein in bibliographic content from 150 countries, seven thousand publishers—in 50 different languages. CABI is also planning to use the MarkLogic database to integrate, manage and store diverse content such as maps, images and texts.
Time to Value. Powell said CABI’s development team took to the MarkLogic database “enthusiastically and quickly.” Notably, CABI went live with the database in July 2016 and as of October 2016 the company upgraded three times—a process that would have taken many more months if not years if the upgrades had been conducted with the hosting company.
Improved Customer Service. CABI reports that the speed and accuracy of MarkLogic’s search capabilities have given the organization a competitive edge. Additionally, MarkLogic’s enterprise attributes also deliver an advantage for CABI: “It’s very reliable, very robust. We haven’t had any problems with it falling over, it’s been assuredly stable.”
Agile Infrastructure. CABI created a searchable index, so scientists in the fields have access to repositories of all relevant information. MarkLogic will soon be the source for all that content, which will be digitized and able to be extracted for multiple usage.
Revenue Creation, Margin Improvement. By bringing everything in-house, CABI has eliminated the middle man, which has improved margins. Additionally, CABI has been able to migrate existing customers from the old to the new platform as well as court new customers, thereby driving revenue.