Traditional methods of consuming and processing data are costly and typically require significant time to implement. Further, traditional data architectures may not be well equipped to handle ‘big data’ because of its volume, variety, velocity, and veracity.

To address these challenges, consider a modern data architecture and simplify your approach with a laser-sharp focus on value.

One Small Step: Identify a Proof of Value Use Case and Assess Cloud Solutions

First, identify and prioritize candidate use cases – business pain points are often the right place to begin pursuing tangible value. As you discover additional use cases, apply a methodical approach to determining expected business value. Then, prioritize the use cases by business value and complexity.

Second, assess your likely data sources for the first use case and determine the data sources required to achieve insights. Then, determine “volumetrics” for the data – how much and how frequent.

Third, assess and select cloud analytics solution options. Conduct an evaluation and selection process for a cloud analytics solution, focusing on security, support, and accessibility. Determine the category of cloud analytics solution, such as a high-volume statistical and computational data modeling tool, a self-service analytics tool, or a dashboard/visualization tool.

Security in the Cloud: What to Look For

Cloud solutions are not always an easy sell in large enterprises, due to security and data control concerns.

The success of any cloud provider hinges on its ability to secure the services provided. Trustworthy cloud providers invest heavily in skilled resources, technologies, and regular security posture assessments. Reputable cloud providers also achieve compliance certifications across a variety of institutions (e.g. SAS70, PCI, HIPAA, etc.) to expand their customer base and assuage concerns about security.

Data ownership is another valid concern. You should ask “once my data is in the cloud, how do I get it back and how much does this cost?” The answer varies by provider and should be part of the evaluation and selection process.

When weighing a cloud option, the best approach is to trust but verify. Cloud providers must have a ‘security first’ culture in order to provide a sustainable service. While the number of cloud service providers continues to increase, it is important to consult with industry analysts and current cloud customers to find the right match.

Evaluating Success

The key to a successful trial use case is to focus on the value proposition. The shift to advanced analytics from a traditional Business Intelligence/data warehouse will require changes in your underlying data architecture. Before fully investing in an on-premise, modern data architecture, start small and focus on delivering business value while investing incrementally in cloud-based analytics services. This process enables the agility required to demonstrate results quickly and will allow your business to respond to changing market conditions, with the added benefit of cost and revenue efficiencies.