Maximising the value of data through the cloud
25 June 2018
Bob Muglia, Chief Executive Officer at Snowflake Computing
In today’s data economy, getting the most valuable insights into data, in real-time, is essential. Organisations are creating vast volumes of data, extrapolated from various sources such as social media, websites, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). But this is causing a big challenge for organisations.
Forrester estimates that approximately three-quarters of companies aspire to be data-driven, but only 29 per cent turn their data into action. This often raises the question, what’s so hard about accessing and analysing your own data?
Most organisations still rely on a traditional, on-premises data warehouse, which was adequate for yesterday’s IT and data analytics needs. But these conventional data warehouses weren’t designed to keep up with the exploding demand for data-driven insight that is being seen today. They are complex, costly and inflexible systems that have become obstacles rather than solutions to accessing and analysing all your data by all your users.
Today, the world of data has been revolutionised by the innovation of the cloud. Data warehouses using a dedicated cloud infrastructure are at the forefront of the data revolution, benefitting from the flexibility, scalability and elasticity of the cloud – all at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.
Through the cloud, disparate data sets can all be viewed all within a centralised system in real-time, boosting the speed of insights to those that require them. Additionally, data sets are far easier to share both within internal departments, but also externally to partners and suppliers, enabling easier visibility and access across the business stack. Simply put, the more data is shared, the more value it delivers.
In the future, the growth of the cloud is only going to mirror the surge of data. Organisations that capitalise on a data warehouse engineered for the cloud will be in the best position to make the most of their data, and it will put them ahead of competitors using outdated systems.
Welcome to Business Reporter's Digital Economy Campaign. Nobody argues that data is now the lifeblood of every business, yet many still struggle to mine that data for actionable insights. Legacy technologies force companies to keep their data in silos, failing to access and share it fast enough to deliver data-driven insights. How could new technologies, like the rapidly developing cloud, bring a solution? With us today for some advice on how businesses can drive value from their data is the CEO of Snowflake Computing, Bob Muglia.
Good morning, Bob.
Good morning, Anna. It's good to talk to you.
Can you explain how data today is different from 10 years ago?
Well, I think the first thing about it is it's more important than it was in the past. I think almost every CEO and CIO, and really in the boardrooms across the world, have recognised that data is an opportunity for business to gain advantage over their competitors. And perhaps more to the point, if they don't embrace data, they'll be left behind.
It's become something of a front room conversation within the boardroom. And that's a big change. The other thing is, is that there's a lot more data today than there ever was before. Data is being generated everywhere-- sensors, and web applications, internet devices, mobile apps, business applications, they all generate data. And there's a tremendous opportunity to gain insight and advantage by bringing that together and allowing people to make decisions based on data.
Why are businesses struggling to leverage value from the data that they have?
Well, there sure is a lot of opportunity out there. But companies have had a hard time capitalising on that opportunity because the tools they use are very, very primitive. The products that people are able to use to work with data, most of them go back 10, 20, even 30 years. And the technology that was designed in the 1980s and the 1990s just isn't up to what's required to handle all of the data that modern companies need.
How does Snowflake overcome the limitations of the legacy solutions?
Well, Snowflake is different because it's a brand new data warehouse that was built for the cloud. It was designed to run in the cloud environment and to take advantage of the effectively limitless resources that the cloud can deliver in. And working with data in the cloud is a match made in heaven because the cloud allows companies to throw large amounts of computing resources at a problem to find an answer and then to take that computing resource away and not pay for it while it's not in use. It's a unique thing that can only be delivered with the cloud together with a modern data warehouse like Snowflake. Really, Snowflake is the only product that takes advantage of that full elasticity of the cloud and delivers these kinds of solutions to customers.
What are your customer's top business requirements when it comes to making that next data warehouse decision?
I think the key thing people are looking for is, can they pull together all of their business data and make it available to all of their end users to make better business decisions? That's really the key thing. There's many disparate types of data that modern businesses need to work with. And there's tremendous value to being able to put all of that data in one place and use that to gain insight. And that's what we see companies looking for as they begin the process of moving to the cloud and choosing a data warehouse.
How does Snowflake help clients comply with the GDPR?
Well, GDPR is a new and very complicated regulation that companies all across the world in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere are really getting their hands around. It provides a balance between end user privacy and business's ability to work with data effectively. And companies have to come to grips with that.
And a product like Snowflake can ensure that all of the data a company has is secure and encrypted. And Snowflake provides companies with the capabilities to work with data and to ensure that they comply with the new regulations that GDPR brings about. So we're focusing on helping our customers to work with GDPR and meet these new regulatory requirements.
Can you predict what the next big thing in data analytics will be?
Well, I think that one of the big opportunities is to take and enable companies to treat data as a business asset. Today, data is available inside many companies, but it's rarely considered an asset that can be leveraged to gain business advantage. And we foresee the creation of what some are calling a data economy, a world where data becomes a critical part of the way everybody does business.
And also, working together, organisations working together with data. Data's siloed today. In the future, data will be shared. And a product like Snowflake makes that possible. Snowflake is the only product that enables a company to take any of their business data and securely, and in real time under their control, share it with another organisation. That data sharing is a foundation of that future data economy. And that's where we see the world going.
Well, thank you so much, Bob. It's been great talking with you.
Great. Thank you, Anna.