Digital transformation continues to be a buzz term for business but the concept is often ambiguous at best and the overall idea - lofty. There are many components required to successfully digitally transform and the construction of a digital roadmap is step one. At the foundation of this roadmap sit cloud and data warehousing and both are the main topics for discussion in what follows.
Businesses today are still struggling with taking disparate and siloed systems and successfully integrating them in a way that makes sense for both their business and their people. Failure to get it right presents a tremendous threat to the organisation.
With cloud, the sky’s the limit.
It pretty much goes without saying that cloud is no longer some future solution or something to “try out”. It is a mandatory requirement and failure to get there will inevitably have a negative and possibly devastating impact on business. Of course, ask anyone in a cloud services business if this is true and they’ll tell you that failure to migrate now will mean the end of your business. I’d prefer not to take such a gloomy approach, but the research our teams have conducted does paint a dark picture for businesses that haven’t yet executed a cloud strategy.
In saying that, I should clarify that research on cloud implementation itself is scarce in Australia. It is clear, however, from examples like the recently published CBA Retail Insights, that cloud is definitely an enabler of innovation allowing teams both local and remote to more effectively work together. Whether you’re migrating fully, already there or have implemented a hybrid solution, businesses in the cloud are seeing the benefits through; improved productivity, innovations, and efficiencies across the organisation that is ultimately placing them in a more competitive position. The net result is an improved bottom line.
Thus cloud is the foundation for which to begin to bring together the disparate systems that may have existed previously. There are a number of cloud solutions providers such as Oracle and Microsoft for example. But a Google search will yield plenty of options for you to consider.
I have all this data, now what?
Because of the speed in which businesses (of all sizes) are moving today, the need for an already implemented and active strategy is key to future survivability. Although a number of hybrid cloud solutions are available for organisations with legacy systems, the question for many businesses both large and small is what to do with the data once it has been collected.
Where data warehousing was once, a very short time ago, for larger business, it’s now accessible to the masses and at scalable rates.
In today’s world of data, the biggest questions about data we most often encounter at Fifth Quadrant, is what exactly should be used and how best to use it. As more and more businesses seek to migrate to cloud environments and make the move to digitally transform their business’, the need for better data analytics becomes a necessity. Otherwise, what are you paying for?
Traditionally, data warehousing solutions have been bulky and cost ineffective and so were just deemed enterprise solutions. Since 2012, that has changed. Enter Snowflake, a US based data warehouse solution designed from the ground up to fit and support today’s modern data applications. Snowflake, as the name sort of suggests, offers each client a unique, lightweight solution that can accumulate as much data as needed.
Since Snowflake formed in 2012, it has raised over $473 million in growth funding and is offering a fresh approach to data warehousing. According to CEO Bob Muglia from a January media release, “Data is the currency of today’s economy and the data warehouse is the engine of that economy.”
Snowflake reinvented the data warehouse to be more flexible for customers offering the ability to operate at any scale of data, users, and workloads - in other words, what you need when you need it. Leveraging the power of this technology requires little more than an understanding of SQL.
Yet, once these puzzle pieces are in place - cloud and a data warehouse, the real challenge of determining what insights you want and most need in order to make the business decisions that matter become the next key step in your process. And a result of this next natural step will be the gathering of greater business intelligence. Deciding exactly what data you should be using is really up to you and your teams and likely the subject of a future article and discussion.