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Successful, Sustainable Data Modernization Requires More Than Meets the Eye

April 13, 2021
Nick Amabile

From saving on the maintenance and management costs associated with on-prem environments to the increased flexibility for storage and computing capacity, cloud-driven data modernization is a hot topic for every business.

However, too many organizations underestimate the holistic approach required for a successful digital transformation. If you try and undertake a cloud migration by simply replicating your existing processes in a new technology, you'll never see the benefits or return on investment.

To truly capitalize on the possibilities of cloud-based storage and analytics, you need to rethink how your business uses data analytics.

This white paper will enable you to kickstart that process. You'll learn:

  • The wealth of benefits made possible through a successful and sustainable data modernization.
  • How a "top-down" approach to a cloud migration puts your business goals first.
  • The organizational support and workflow changes that a data modernization program requires.
  • The critical importance of integrating data into your existing workflows to increase adoption rates of your new data program.
  • How DAS42 approaches data modernization through the lens of your existing use cases to help you manage the challenges in creating a sustainable data modernization.

Read the White Paper Now

Understand the core details that are critical to a successful modernization effort.

In a fast-moving business climate, a well-considered digital transformation is critical to your long-term success. From managing your supply chain to streamlining manufacturing, distribution, and customer service, new processes powered by advanced technology can revolutionize your organization.

Factor in the assortment of far-reaching insights made possible by implementing a modern data stack, and a modernization program's benefits only multiply. For your business, the pressing matter isn’t whether the time is right to undertake a modernization effort. It’s how soon your modernization initiative can be completed.

But for all the benefits made possible from implementing cloud storage and its related technologies into your data program, your organization needs to be realistic. A sustainable modernization project requires far more than deploying the right set of tools.

Encompassing far-reaching changes to how your business information is stored, managed, and accessed, modernization demands a new way of thinking. To ensure a return on an investment in data modernization, you need to manage comprehensive changes across your organization.

Businesses Operate at a Higher Level with Modern Data Analytics Tools

Given the prospective benefits, organizations looking for a competitive edge are inevitably drawn to cloud-based data storage and analytics. The cloud offers practically unlimited computing and storage resources, which stands in contrast with the constraints of setting up a physical (on-prem) environment for your needs.

Instead of incurring the cost of purchasing server space to support your business at its busiest times, the cloud allows greater flexibility. On an average business day, your business may only require a modest amount of storage. However, during events like Black Friday, your needs spike. With the cloud, you can scale your storage up or down with your provider as circumstances demand.

When the sky’s the limit in terms of capacity, you also can store and access all the raw information your business produces. Instead of capturing vendor data that conforms to your existing use-cases, you can take ownership of all your data because it’s no longer cost prohibitive.

The cloud also allows you to drastically reduce your expenses for storage maintenance and updates. Purchasing physical storage required implementing software and hardware upgrades along with systems patches and security updates. Plus, your business is responsible for configuring networking and security protocols. With your data in the cloud, your provider handles these operational requirements that were never core to your business.

The flexibility gained from data modernization extends to your internal teams as well. If a provider like Google, AWS, or Microsoft Azure rolls out a new service, you can easily experiment with their tools and see if it works for your business. In the world of on-prem storage, you have to pay for the new feature up front without knowing how useful it could be.

A Lift-and-Shift Approach Will Leave Your Modernization Stuck in the Past

Given the considerable advantages in the scale and speed the cloud provides, organizations are increasingly pursuing a data modernization plan. But if on-prem storage is no longer working for you, your data analytics program is not going to improve if you just migrate all your existing processes to the cloud.

This “lift and shift” approach of attempting to replicate your current architecture in a new environment may feel like the safest option. If you’re exploring undertaking this migration on your own, "lift and shift" may seem the more straightforward route as well.

But realistically, if you want to see the greatest benefits from data modernization, you’re better off evaluating your business goals and starting from scratch. With the right data partner, you can take a top-down approach that applies your data storage and applications in a business context.

For example, look at what your marketing team is doing. Are they using Salesforce? What email service provider does your organization use and how are they segmenting your customers. And, are your teams working primarily toward retention or acquisition?

Once you understand how your data is applied to your business needs, you then can ensure you are implementing the right solution. But the changes to how your business interacts with its data won’t end there.

Organizational Changes Are Critical to a Sustainable Modernization

For a data modernization initiative to be successful, you have to open up access to your business data across your organization. From sales and marketing to human resources and finance teams, modern data analytics offers a considerable reach.

However, as you empower more people in your organization with self-service analytics, they can quickly be overwhelmed. Data modernization incorporates a dizzying array of choices in the technology market. Amid so many possibilities, it’s difficult to build an understanding of how each tool works together.

As workflows have evolved, you can take steps to ensure your data comes to the platforms your teams use the most. Business intelligence tools like Looker can be integrated into Slack, which allows teams to ask data-driven questions and generate results. Plus, insights about customer service and usage data can be incorporated into Salesforce or your marketing email provider. Integrating analytics into existing tools helps drive adoption of your new data program across your organization.

A successful rollout of a data analytics program requires strategies for training your teams in data literacy and data governance. Beyond ensuring your teams can access the information they need, you need to ensure people understand your data and what it means. Proper documentation, data cataloging, and change management of your businesses data and definitions requires consistent organizational support.

Establishing an internal center of excellence staffed by power users within your organization helps sustain your data modernization effort. But with so many new tools and use cases coming on board, organizational and change management is an ongoing process. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this challenge alone.

Shifting Your Data Analytics Program to the Cloud Requires Expert Handling

Centralizing all of the information from your siloed data sources into a flexible cloud environment opens up multitudes of options to expand your analytics efforts. While the technological changes are considerable, so are the organizational shifts required to generate the most return on your investment.

However, a modern data program allows your company to generate a far wider volume of valuable insights. The advances of the cloud requires a new approach to your data, and the right partner can rearchitect how your teams work. In the process, you gain an expert guide for a successful, sustainable transition.

By viewing your modernization in the context of your business goals, DAS42 can help identify opportunities in the cloud you hadn’t considered. For us, the modernization process encompasses multiple components:

  • Undertake discovery process around use cases for data across business units.
  • Determine and define data sets relevant to specific business use cases.
  • Understand and resolve security requirements.
  • Create a solution architecture by selecting appropriate technologies for data warehousing, business intelligence, and data governance.
  • Evaluate data science and machine learning applications and their relevance to satisfying your organization’s needs.
  • Identify integration points for business data with activation points within the organization to bring data to where teams work.
  • Consider change management and organizational requirements, including data literacy, training and enablement, and support plans.

While these steps are just part of our process, data modernization is ultimately a journey that must be tailored to your business. Though a migration project like this isn’t necessarily fast or simple, it is also manageable with the proper assistance. If you’d like to hear more about how this journey can work for you, let’s talk.

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