If you want to implement a cloud data warehouse or have made the decision to transition your legacy warehouse to a modern solution, you need some clever planning in place to ensure project success.

Consider your business requirements and objectives properly, or else you will risk a failed cloud data warehouse project.

This 2-part article explores 5 steps to take prior to commencing your cloud data warehouse project.

1. Evaluate your organisations appetite for change

Making the switch to cloud requires more than just a change in architecture, it requires a change to business thinking. You need to investigate and discover what your organisation’s true driver is, as well as the appetite for change.

The main reluctance we see from IT Departments relates to risk and responsibility. Assess the risk involved in the adoption of the new solution, however, weigh this against the potential reward. Avoid making decisions based on fear, and instead focus on what will create the greatest business benefit.

Cloud has matured significantly over the last decade and is relied upon by some of Australia’s most regulated and data-rich organisations, for example – Banks. More organisations are choosing cloud data warehouse providers because they rely on delivering a secure environment for their clients. In most cases cloud providers have greater resources to manage security with entire teams dedicated to that sole responsibility.

Consider cost when evaluating your organisation appetite for Cloud. Yes, the initial investment may be high, however the value cloud delivers far outweighs this upfront cost. Firstly, a modern cloud data warehouse offers usage-based pricing. This flexible model requires you only pay for the cost of storage used and the cost of compute resources consumed. This means that you are not being charged for idle compute time. Secondly, you can reduce long-term expenditure as there is no need for networking, server rooms, excess hardware, nor the associated maintenance costs. Lastly, consider the opportunity cost of not using Cloud. The single biggest benefit of the Cloud is that it makes data available and at the centre of all decision-making. With its speed and performance multiple users can self-serve and gain access to data without affecting the processing power.

These are just some of the internal concerns you will likely need to be ready to answer. During your evaluation, always balance risk and reward. Focus on communicating how the solution you recommend will deliver the greatest business benefit.

2. Align data warehouse needs with strategic business goals for one common vision

Build a cloud data warehouse that supports data-driven decision making, and caters to strategic business plans. Unfortunately, many organisations only focus on the technical aspects of designing a data warehouse. They fail to consider the architecture from a business perspective. Employ a business-oriented approach that defines company goals, objectives, strategies and tactics that will be used to drive growth.

To align your data warehouse needs to your company’s strategic objectives you need to review Key Performance Indicators and long-term goals. Re-engineer the data that is required to measure the success of these indicators.

By getting clear on your company’s goals, you can begin generating real value for stakeholders. Focus your efforts on providing them access to data that will allow them to discover insights. Involve decision makers in a process of qualifying and validating their department’s goals. Ensure that what they consider to be ‘priorities’ actually aligns with the business. A unified strategy that considers their needs and aligns them with company goals is likely to achieve greater project success, project sponsorship and management buy-in.

3. Determine the (agile) scope of the project

We are not talking about the “traditional” project scope that is rigid, instead at Minerva we promote agile scope management.

This style of project management requires the project lead to gather high-level requirements and focus primarily on the business outcomes.  Unlike a traditional project scope, an agile methodology welcomes changes. In fact, a successful project would see changes to the original scope as the project team becomes more experienced.

So, how it is possible to change requirements and avoid budget and time blow-outs for your cloud data warehouse?

Prioritisation. You must be able to ruthlessly prioritise and determine the value of new requirements and either push-out or remove the lowest-priority features.

By focusing on the business outcomes, rather than detailed scope deliverables, you can adjust to changing business requirements if they are going to add value to the project.

For Part 2 of a Successful Cloud Data Warehouse, read our next blog.

Summary


A successful cloud data warehouse implementation relies on strategic business planning. If you are in the process of considering a cloud data warehouse why not contact us at Minerva Partners?

Minerva is a Management Consultancy that is laser-focused on business transformation. We assist CFOs, CIOs and transformation specialists every day to improve their data management, budgeting, forecasting, and planning. Our goal is to give you back valuable time to focus on business growth and strategy.


 

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