The application of digital technologies within organizations (a.k.a., digital transformation) has been a topic of interest for many in recent years. The potential benefits of these efforts are quite alluring:
- Create an empowered, data-driven culture that drives innovation
- Be proactive rather than reactive, managing by exception
- Create more rapid and agile operations
- Reduce operational expenses
- Make more informed decisions (always better than less informed)
While the goals and benefits are attainable, digital transformation is not something that you can go out and purchase, configure and then declare victory. It requires changes in business process, culture and the application of key technologies—and an appetite for, and comfort with, pragmatic innovation.
Enterprise Data Capability Gaps
I’m a data guy, so let’s focus on the data side of the digital transformation journey. Everyone reads about and wants cool things like artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions than can reduce operational expenses. Who would not like to have software to tell us when it’s time to perform maintenance on expensive assets before they break resulting in costly downtime?
A key to many of these desirable capabilities is having “good data.” Simply stated, good data is data that is easy to access, it is as current as it needs to be, it is accurate, it is trusted. Unfortunately, providing good data is hard as data continues to grow in size and complexity, stretching traditional technologies and IT staff. The result is a widening chasm between desired organizational capabilities and the reality of current data, infrastructure and skill sets.
Managing Data in the Cloud with Snowflake
Data management is a critical foundational component of the digital transformation journey and an enabler of good data. In a perfect world, data of all types is captured and made accessible. In the real world, however, it must be done cost effectively, and this is especially true in the current economic climate.
Innovations in data management tools are beginning to drive real cost-reduction opportunities. For example, Snowflake’s cloud-based data warehousing platform allows organizations to “think big and start small” as they narrow their capability gap. Key capabilities include:
- Single source of truth
- Unlimited, automatic scaling and speed
- Unlimited queries and users
- Pay as you use
- No hardware
A common starting place involves using Snowflake to manage “newer” types of data that have typically been difficult and/or too expensive to manage with traditional database technologies. For example, SCADA data can be pulled into Snowflake and exposed to analytic tools to help predict required asset maintenance. (See “Managing Oil and Gas SCADA Data with Snowflake” for an in-depth discussion of this use case.)
Over time and from a broader perspective, Snowflake effectively becomes the data backbone that drives down OPEX and increases return on CAPEX. The following diagram depicts the data management end state for an upstream oil and gas organization.
The digital transformation journey remains a worthwhile if difficult endeavor. Data management is a key component of the required technical foundation. The good news is that cloud-based data warehouse solutions like Snowflake provide cost-effective solutions that allow every organization to get started on their unique digital journey, even in difficult economic times.
To learn how Stonebridge can help you take advantage of Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse platform to enable your digital transformation journey, contact us.