On May 4th, IT professionals from around the region gathered in St. Louis to attend the 2022 Gateway to Innovation conference. The conference provides a unique opportunity for attendees to network, learn, and gain inspiration from regional successes and national speakers. With over 1,500 attendees, Gateway to Innovation is the region’s premier single-day event designed for the IT executive community. This year, we are proud to have co-sponsored this event with our partner, Databricks. As part of our sponsorship, we hosted a panel discussion on Demystifying the Journey to Enabling Analytics in the Cloud.
Like many IT functions, data analytics is moving to the cloud. But many organizations are still seeking to make the shift. Going to the cloud is a necessary step that allows you to scale data, users, use cases, and capabilities around machine learning and data science. But, it doesn’t come without its challenges. Deployment delays, maintenance and upgrade issues, adoption resistance, and more can end up hurting your business’s ability to keep up the pace against competition.
Our panelists included:
- Gokhan Metan, Vice President, Enterprise Data Science & Engineering at Centene Corporation
- Jeroen Tetteroo, Director, Product Development at Anheuser-Busch
- Adam Wood, Director, Data Discovery, Quality, and AdHoc Analytics at Mastercard
- Steve Thompson (moderator), Data Chief Strategist at Perficient
While migrating to the Cloud can be a broad topic, our conversation was specific through the lens of analytics. Here are 5 key takeaways from our panelist session:
1. Primary Drivers for Migrating Your Organization’s Analytics Environment to the Cloud
Organizations in today’s market strive to be innovative, competitive, and agile. Creating value for your organization was unanimously the main driver amongst our three panelists. There were distinct moments in each panelist’s role that convinced them it was time for a change. For Adam Wood, it was running out of valuable storage space. As a data-driven organization, his team would experience major setbacks when hitting their storage capacity. After seeing what they could accomplish once they had the opportunity to scale, the decision to migrate to the cloud created the value their organization was searching for. Regardless of where you are in your journey, investing in the resources to provide your organization with the necessary tools to be agile with your data will give you a more competitive edge.
2. Getting your Organization on Board
Before beginning your migration to cloud, you’ll first need to get your organization to buy in. Focus on how the change will support your own goals and priorities. Reduced costs in the long run, increased scalability, disaster recovery, the list can go on – but what will impact your organization the most? Gokhan Metan reflected on the evolution of technology and what is available to us now. Software like Databricks now brings different technologies together to enable a more integrated and seamless flow to access your data with ease. That said, consider leveraging these newer technologies and their capabilities to demonstrate how they can get you closer to your goals.
3. Evaluating and Selecting your Platform
While there are numerous platforms out there, selecting the right one for your organization can oftentimes be overwhelming. Gokhan emphasized that every company is unique, and it truly depends on your workforce and the type of services you need. During their own search, certain technologies caught their eye. That said, they wanted to integrate their own data scientists into the decision-making process for a more inclusive approach as they would be using the platform on a day-to-day basis. So, by bringing your larger team into the conversation, multiple perspectives can better guide you to making your decision.
4. Tips to be Successful During Your Migration
With any new transition, there are bound to be minor bumps in the road. Therefore understanding how to successfully navigate those bumps can make your transition seamless. For our panelists, some quickly noticed a skill gap. Many colleagues want to continue the way they do things, which is a major barrier to becoming an innovative organization. Establishing dedicated training sessions for your team will aid in flawlessly integrating them throughout the transition.
Another common agreement was don’t loose track of valuable data. Adam Wood continued to emphasize the use of data catalogs to look for duplicated data, know who is using it, and where the data goes. By consistently staying organized and up-to-date, you dodge the risk of loosing both time and money.
5. Final Thoughts
As we continue to innovate, many software vendors now require you to be on the Cloud to use their software. While migrating your data analytics to the Cloud may seem daunting, you’re not alone. Jeroen Tetteroo explained that you can’t do it all at once, but finding opportunities to grow into the strategy is key to success.
Regardless of what stage you are in on your journey, be prepared to take risks. Investing into Cloud can be the next step to help reach your organizations goals. Lastly, enlisting the help of a trusted partner can ensure a swift and successful migration.
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