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Acceleration Powered by Data: A Fireside Chat with Snowflake

How data can shape and inform changes to an organization’s business model

July 8, 2020 | A Q&A with Snowflake

birds eye view of snow covered country road with digital data overlay

As we explore the role of data in navigating disruption in the most recent issue of Version Next, Now, we discover how critical it is for organizations to act with agility based on their data strategy—and how they must reconfigure their business model if data suggests their plan isn’t working.

In a fireside chat with TEKsystems, Snowflake leader Clarke Patterson shares his point of view on how data can fuel and support changing business models.

How does data fuel and support changing business models?

Patterson: Data is arguably the lifeblood of everything we do. Whether it’s understanding what our customers are doing, what products we should produce, how we can create a better quality experience for everyone we interact with, or how we mitigate known or unforeseen business risks, data is essential to getting decisions about changing business models right. Using data in the right way helps us not only understand past behaviors, but also predict future ones.

How do decision models enable organizations to maximize the value of their data?

Patterson: Analytics is the core to any decision model. When done right, it can help organizations evaluate past behaviors to better understand why something happened and use that information to predict, and in some cases prescribe, expected outcomes.

How can organizations leverage their data in times of uncertainty?

Patterson: Data can help alleviate the uncertainty in the times of uncertainty. If it wasn’t a priority before, a comprehensive data strategy should now be on the top of every organization’s priority list. Much is at risk in times of uncertainty, so making decisions on a hunch is a dangerous strategy. Bringing data closer to the core of how a business operates helps bring clarity to the dynamics of what’s happening around us.

What are some of the biggest obstacles that companies face when creating a data-driven culture?

Patterson: A modern data-driven strategy likely involves the cloud and as such, security is a key concern. When evaluating services, organizations should evaluate whether the provider has a comprehensive security strategy. This means security of the service itself and ensuring it’s resilient and safe from threats, but also security for the data that lands in the product offered by the service.

How do data and analytics empower organizations’ digital transformation efforts?

Patterson: Find solutions that are both easy to use and adaptable to your unique needs. In particular, data engineers and analysts likely require a range of options for how they go about working with data in their own unique ways. They should be able to keep complexity out of the equation as much as possible but have the flexibility to introduce it when and if they need.

Thinking about how organizations mobilize their workforce for reentry plans, what role can data play or how can it inform an organization’s reentry plan?

Patterson: Find new ways to use data that you hadn’t previously thought of. Many datasets are available now that weren’t before. The Snowflake Data Marketplace, for example, has COVID-19 datasets that can be used by anyone to analyze unique patterns in and around their business. The data is here at its disposal; we should all find ways to put it to action.

Clarke Patterson is head of product marketing for Snowflake's core data warehouse product. Clarke is an industry veteran with experience leading teams at Confluent, Cloudera and Informatica. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Calgary, and an Master of Business Administration from Duke University.

Snowflake’s mission is to enable every organization to be data-driven. Their cloud-built data platform makes that possible by delivering instant elasticity, secure data sharing and per-second pricing, across multiple clouds. Snowflake combines the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms and the elasticity of the cloud at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.

Acceleration Powered by Data:
The Technology Perspective

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