Are You Getting The Most Value From Your Data In The Cloud?

Although the cloud has become an equalizer giving all users access to the same infrastructure and technology capabilities, it can also flatten out competitive differentiation.

Are You Getting The Most Value From Your Data In The Cloud?

It may be tempting to hire a large cloud computing provider that markets itself as a one-stop-shop with a huge menu of offerings, including the choice of database. Tempting—but a potentially bad idea.

Although the cloud has become an equalizer giving all users access to the same infrastructure and technology capabilities, it can also flatten out competitive differentiation. This is because you’re giving control of your data—your most important business asset—to a generalist that specializes in infrastructure, not databases.

The danger of giving up control

Your database is the information store of your business, and it underpins every asset you want to inspect, analyze, and make better. It’s the tool that’s essential to informing a smart strategy, developing potential new revenue streams, and maintaining not just infrastructure agility but also business agility so you can react quickly to volatile market conditions.

In an era of increasing digitization of customer interactions, trusting your database to a generalist cloud vendor is risky because you’re handing over not just control of your IT infrastructure but also how you manage and extract value from your data. Especially for demanding workloads and digital capabilities that are part of your market differentiation, you must trust that your vendor understands the technology that you need to support the intricacies of your business. Your vendor must also continuously improve the data-management capabilities of its technology to help you maintain your competitive edge and to enable you to move fully to the cloud.

Love your data

“Data is the new oil.” “Data is the new gold.” You’ve heard the clichés, but it’s true that data offers power. That power doesn’t reveal itself easily and needs to be protected. (As the computer scientist Kurt Bollacker has said, “Data that is loved tends to survive.”) If you really cherish your data and see your organization as being or becoming data-enabled or data-driven, then it makes sense to show your data some love.

You can’t treat your database as a commodity line item, so you need to have a high-quality innovative product backed up by immediately accessible experts who know the technology because they built it. That way, any questions, problems, or new needs can be addressed fast. If you work with a specialist database provider, you can expect support for:

  • Planning: If you are making significant architectural changes, you will need expert advice on areas such as optimizing performance in the cloud compared to on-premises.
  • Design: A database expert can help you improve the database design to minimize unexpected discrepancies with expected behaviour (bugs, in other words) and to accelerate the time to market by avoiding costly design mistakes.
  • Ongoing Management: Particularly if you are using open-source databases in a mission-critical environment, you cannot afford to wait for the open-source community to address a problem. Having an expert partner that is invested in the software will make it easier to manage security and performance issues for mission-critical systems.
  • Future Planning: The right database specialist that understands your business and the product development plans will have the resources to drive a customer-focused roadmap. This will help you maximize the strategic value of your database.

In a globalizing economy where technology is lowering barriers to entry and commoditizing products and services, competitive differentiation is becoming ever more reliant on data and how well your company uses it to identify opportunities and engage with customers.

Certainly, this use of data is helping accelerate the move to the cloud. But at EDB, we are seeing companies reconsidering their cloud-migration strategies, especially when it comes to recalibrating which data-management capabilities they require. This reconsideration is not just about reducing infrastructure and IT expenditure costs; it also is about making data in the cloud work harder for business outcomes.

In the days before the cloud, different partners might have supported different aspects of your on-premises data-centre infrastructure. Today, if you want to extract the most value from your applications, moving to the cloud does not remove that need. Data is your differentiator, so it is critical for your cloud provider to have the specialized skills and knowledge you need to manage and drive innovation in your database stack. Without such strategic partnerships, you might limit how much you can capitalize on your data to drive a competitive advantage.

Written by Marc Linster, Chief Technology Officer, EDB