What we did
An open-ended assignment
A fast-growing, global pharmaceutical company had just completed a migration to Snowflake and wanted to optimize its use of the data platform. Its objective was to sustain growth while keeping technology costs in check, and to put the right operations and processes in place to make the technology sustainable.
The data in question was enterprise data that supports its operations in a variety of use cases. For example, the marketing team uses this data to identify healthcare organizations and providers who might prescribe their products.
It was important to the client to build a user-friendly, self-service platform where anyone in the organization could log in and understand the data quickly, without waiting for help from IT. Speed to market is a key business priority, and accessible data can give the company an edge on the competition.
The client approached us to analyze how it was operating with Snowflake and to share industry best practices from our experience. Specifically, the team wanted us to challenge them. When we put the contract in place, there was no specific scope; they wanted us to find areas where they could improve and give them the roadmap to execute on.
The client specifically wanted us to challenge them. They needed a roadmap for the next three years that would help them grow as fast as their business was growing—and keep working for them.
Under the microscope
In just three weeks, with one full-time developer and one part-time architect, we conducted an in-depth assessment of the client’s current Snowflake data platform architecture, workflows, process models, tools, and services to identify its pain points and the areas where it could optimize.
We interviewed all business units currently using Snowflake to identify how they used the data, what their challenges were, and how they supported other users.
During the assessment, we identified and documented their current state processes, interactions, gaps, and future directions. Then, we delivered:
- Future state requirements, use cases, and solution patterns. We provided industry best practices and points of view on architectures, patterns, processes, and tools to support known and unknown use cases.
- Recommendations and next steps. We provided detailed guidance on how to address knowledge, skill, and/or technical gaps between current and target states.
A clear picture of the ideal state
It’s often challenging for organizations to scale their data platforms sustainably. Our client asked us for a roadmap for the next three years that would help the platform grow as fast as its business was growing, and would keep working for them.
We proposed many recommendations as part of the roadmap, the top three being:
Ready to scale
Once we delivered the roadmap, the client team had a clear understanding of how they would use their platform in the future, and they were ready to get started with the implementation.
Our goal is never to create a dependency on our resources, and we succeeded in handing off the project to the client and preparing its teams to execute on the vision. The company is now ready to automate new user onboarding and other tasks, meeting the demand for access to its data platform and sustaining the growth of the enterprise.
The company is now ready to meet the demand for access to its data platform and sustain the growth of the enterprise.
A template for next time
We observed that this kind of assessment was valuable not only for the current client, but that we would likely get similar requests from clients in the future. With that in mind, we templatized the evaluation and interview questions, and created a reusable framework from the outcome of the evaluation.
The next time we’re asked to do a project like this, we’ll be able to get started right away and deliver results quickly, at a lower cost to the client.