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Choosing a Cloud Data Warehouse Solution

Not all cloud providers offer similar solutions. In fact, the differences between the leading cloud warehouse offerings can be quite drastic. So, what should your decision factors be when choosing a cloud data warehouse solution?

First, start with the business issue you are trying to solve. Remember, the challenge is a business issue (revenue), not an IT issue (expense). IT is an enabler to help the business be more efficient, so this is the first and foremost question one needs to ask and answer. Am I focused on historical BI reporting? Do I need curated datasets included with my data to drive better decision making and increase sales? Do I need to predict future behaviors based on past performance? The answers to these questions lead drastically different solutions, so take the time to analyze the situation before going with the crowd or purchasing the new, trendy solution.

Now that we know the business issue we are working to resolve, we need to create a budget for the solution. This budget should include money, time, and technical resources required for the project. Why are we budgeting time, money, and resources before picking a solution? Because it is a waste of these resources if we choose a technical solution that costs more that we save/generate and/or is not delivered in the time needed to maximize our return on the investment. To put it in layman’s terms, I could order a high-speed, expensive custom-built car and wait six to twelve weeks for it to arrive, but how will I get to work in the meantime? Will a non-custom car provide me with the functionality I need to get to work and get paid? (yes) Do I need all of the extra accouterments that a custom solution would provide? (probably not). Will having the car pay for itself with increased revenue? (probably not). Remember, the objective of the business is to maximize profits and efficiencies, not to have the latest and coolest technology as a part of my cloud solution.

Next, we create a score sheet to evaluate the potential technologies based on the requirements gathered in the first step. Creating the score sheet now allows you to focus on solving the business challenge. We want to do this step with a clear head before our minds get filled with the endless possibilities the different solutions provide and we artificially skew the scorecard results based on the technology solution, not the business problem.

With all of the foundational work completed, we can now move forward with meeting the vendors. The steps above have prepared you to actively engage with these solution providers, asking probing and informed questions that are pertinent to your business challenge.

After the vendor meetings are complete, you rate the vendors’ ability to meet your pre-defined requirements based on your scorecard. Although the answers are subjective, you are focusing on the features that are important to resolving your challenge. In the end, you may not end up with a clear victor by using this process, but you will be confident in knowing that this method has provided you with the vendor that will address your data warehouse challenges.

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