The Importance of a Modern Cloud Platform Foundation: Part Four

Posted in: Advanced Analytics, Business Insights, Series, Technical Track

Without a solid foundation, you'll have trouble creating anything of value.

As with any journey, having a good roadmap and a well-tuned vehicle make for a smoother trip. For an analytics program, the engine for success comes from a modern data platform. Today, this almost always means a cloud-based solution and its important benefits.

Cost-effectiveness and improved ROI

A primary advantage of a modern cloud data platform is its ability to cost-effectively ingest, integrate, transform and manage an almost unlimited amount of any type of data. That flexibility and power is vital because every stage of your analytics journey depends on access to data.

There are other reasons why cloud delivery is key to a modern data platform. From a financial perspective, the pay-only-for-what-you-use model allows organizations to realize ROI sooner. It also means you can match the timing of your project spend to actual use of data.

Flexibility

Two additional benefits come from the modularity found in cloud components. First, you can upgrade or replace a single component without having to replace the entire system. Second, you don’t have to pay for a component you aren’t using. The perfect example here is the separation of storage and computing in cloud services.

From an IT perspective, because most cloud providers offer their product as a service, the IT team can shift a large portion of the operational burden to the cloud vendor. The range of options available as services is growing at an astonishing rate, giving organizations myriad choices of on-demand features, from machine learning models to data catalogues and ETL.

Data quantity and quality

With the proliferation of IoT devices, SaaS apps, online shopping, social media and other developments, modern data is more varied than ever before. Even small organizations must grapple with larger volumes and greater need for high-velocity access. Cloud enables all of these.

The specific type, variety and volume of data will vary by company, but in all cases, strong analytics come from data that is integrated, organized and clean.

Getting to the point where you can accommodate and manage the variety, volume and velocity of today’s data is no small feat, but at the highest level it means moving beyond data silos and away from traditional data warehouses with limited capabilities and capacity. A modern cloud platform will meet these expectations and provide the right foundation as your analytics program moves through the maturity journey.

Keep moving forward: Demonstrating value

Technology aside, achieving analytics maturity necessitates constant engagement with the organization. After all, the journey to a truly data-driven enterprise represents change. As with any business transformation, people and processes are critical to success.

A balancing act

No matter where you are in your program, remember your overall analytics journey will evolve over years, not months. In the face of pressure to show value quickly and often, analytics leaders must balance the demand for rapid payback with the complexity and importance of the project. It will be vital to maintain forward momentum.

Long-term gain … and short-term gain …

It helps to design for the long term—but always couple your vision of the destination with implementing for the short term. To use our journey metaphor, it’s smart to plan some interesting stops along the route so everyone has a chance to enjoy the ride.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Instead of dumping all your data into a data platform, consider starting by having IT work with the business to find compelling use cases that are also straightforward. This allows the analytics program to ingest, transform and model only the data needed. The result is demonstrating business value in a workable period while simultaneously gaining support for ongoing investment. Then add another use case, and another, and so on and so on …

Accelerate your journey with expert assistance

The analytics journey is a new trip for many. The technology is still evolving, and so are the processes, skills and important milestones along the way. Heading into uncharted territory can be exciting, but also challenging. Many organizations lack the time or in-house talent to develop an analytics program on their own. Working with outside experts can streamline your journey, accelerate your progress and, most importantly, ensure you arrive at the right destination, based on your business goals.

At Pythian, we’ve designed, deployed and managed hundreds of cloud analytics solutions. Our team approach lets us lead, guide or support your efforts based on the type of engagement most beneficial to you. As you evaluate your analytics maturity, goals and options, contact us to discuss how partnership can speed your efforts and deliver real business outcomes quickly and effectively.

For more information, please download our white paper: Accelerating Your Analytics Journey.

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series. As always, we welcome your questions and thoughts. Please feel free to leave them in the comments!

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About the Author

Lynda Partner is a self-professed data addict and experiences the power of data every day as Pythian’s Vice President of Analytics-as-a-Service. The author of Pythian’s Love Your Data mantra, Lynda understands very well how data can transform companies into competitive winners and she was the driving force in adding an analytics practice to Pythian’s database focus. Lynda works with companies around the world and across industries to turn data into insights, predictions and products, and is the co-author of Designing Cloud Platforms.

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