3 Killers of Data Cloud Modernization Planning

The time it takes from beginning a data cloud initiative to realizing any of tangible value can be years.

After all, there is a lot to consider. First you need to ensure that there is business alignment, between the business and I.T., on what the short, mid, and long-term objectives are. Second, there is the small task of assessing your entire data estate. It is important to figure out with each vendor which modern data stack configuration, workload option, availability zone, and pricing plan is the optimal configuration for you.

Third, you need to build a migration plan, defining a strategy for each possible candidate analytical application and data set, that will drive value to the business based on what the cloud can promise, and execute a proof of concept (PoC).

For many business leaders who are driving cloud initiatives, time is a luxury that few can afford. Legacy data warehouse appliances (Netezza, Teradata, etc.) EOL, more competition and – in case you forgot about 2020 – global events, have a sudden and dramatic effect on how you operate your business.

Yes, migrations to the data cloud are complex, but they don’t have to be painful. Here we explore three of the biggest killers of enterprise data cloud migration planning momentum, and outline how a smarter, automation-enabled approach to the migration can significantly accelerate time-to-value of your data cloud journey.

Assessment Fatigue

Building a comprehensive data cloud migration plan starts with performing an assessment of your existing use of analytics and data warehouses in a business context. A recent Accenture/ MIT survey of CDOs stated that 31% of executive leadership underestimates the value of data initiatives. A precise understanding of your current legacy environment will help you choose the right public cloud and workload configuration to build your business case for cloud adoption. However, that only leads to estimating the total cost of ownership of your cloud - not ROI.

Typically, this fundamental stage of your migration journey is the most draining. It’s important to understand and agree on business goals before starting. Do you want to gain market share faster? Does new IT leadership have a strategy to reallocate IT staff to more high return activities? Are you looking to improve analytics so that you can change pricing models based on supply chain issues or competitive activity? Answering these kinds of questions is the most important step in planning a data cloud migration that will address business value.

This kills momentum by making you feel as though you’re stuck in a perpetual motion of assessing what you have – rather than focusing on the value you want to achieve from the cloud. Do you know which data is really important to running your business? Which BI and analytics applications and reports are used most frequently and which ones almost never? Are any of those applications so inefficient they will drive up cloud consumption costs? Answering these questions is critical to building a roadmap that speeds migration (no, you don’t need to lift and shift ALL your data).

Our Big Switch Migration approach combines our expertise in modernizing complex environments onto the cloud with software-enabled automation to significantly accelerate on-premise data warehouse migrations to Snowflake.

Internal Resource Constraints

There is almost always an element of pressure to a data cloud migration. Your business might be responding to market changes and fending off nimble competitors. There might be an imperative to cut CapEx IT costs. Your legacy data platform appliances have a hard EOS/ EOL deadline coming up. And, as many of us experienced with the Covid pandemic, you may need to respond to a chaotic and disruptive event to scale your company’s digital capabilities.

In all of these scenarios you need to deliver value fast – at the lowest cost possible. It takes resources to migrate to the cloud because it takes time to unravel and re-engineer the transformations in the current data repository. So, when it comes to taking resources away from business requests, without leadership support, migrations will always take a 2nd priority to the business requests. These two initiatives must run in parallel to continue to show IT as a successful enabler of the business.

Our Big Switch migration approach cuts to the chase by using our cloud calculator to rapidly provide a summary of the total cost of ownership of your data cloud and a detailed overview of your optimal data cloud configuration. Additionally, we automate data migration where we can with SnowConvert to accelerate timelines and reduce costs.

Fear of the unknown

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper is famously quoted for, “The most dangerous phrase in our language is “we’ve always done it this way.” Migrating to the cloud represents a huge shift – not just in technology but in people, processes, culture, and leadership. A strategic value of a data cloud migration is to re-think the barriers that impede a data-driven culture.

For those preparing for your data cloud journey, in can be a cold and deep plunge. You need to come to grips with:

  • Understanding a new financial model for consumption-based technology

  • Cloud financial management and governance teams (FinOps)

  • A re-designed data analytics architecture that is secure, scalable, maintainable, and cost-effective

  • Leadership working with the frontline to retire old processes and utilize the new and realize the value they planned for.

These issues all need to be handled before, during and beyond your data cloud migration, so that they don’t add to the momentum-killing mountain of considerations while planning.

Are you looking for more information on how Pandata Group can accelerate your data cloud migration journey? Contact us for a discovery session.


Greig DeSautel is the Director of Delivery & Customer Success for Pandata Group. He has worked with clients across several industries on their migration to the Snowflake Data Cloud.

Jor-El Digman is the President of Pandata Group. He ensures that the team members of Pandata Group hold each other to the highest possible standards, that bring out the best of each individual. Additionally, he oversees customer success in alignment to the team's execution of projects, because so much more can be achieved when working together.