Get Stacked: Designing A High Performance, High ROI Data Stack

Your company sits on an immense treasure trove of data, but tapping this data and accessing its value is a challenge. As your company grew or new software solutions became available, your business found itself with multiple applications and databases holding various customer, operational, accounting, product, warehouse and other data you want for competitive and other insights.

The complexity of legacy systems is compounded by internal business intelligence pressure. Internal teams need various combinations of system data in easily understood reportsimmediately. Leadership teams need different pieces of information to drive strategy and achieve performance goals. The focus of this pressure is felt primarily in one placethe IT department. IT resources find themselves bogged down beneath an avalanche of unique, one-off data requests. They have the pressure of creating, prioritizing, revising, and interpreting data from various systems for various stakeholders. Without a manageable, well-built data stack, you have a recipe for restricted growth and missed opportunities, as well as soaring operational costs.

So how do you design a data stack that checks the functionality boxes without bringing your finance and IT departments to their knees?

If You Built It, It Will Come...Eventually

As with everything IT-related, there’s always the option to “build it yourself”. But the sunk costs of the “build it” approach can leave you in the red before you even send your first query. Custom IT architecture requires researchdetermining what does and doesn’t work for your businessand research requires time and human resources. Once you define the requirements, you then need to develop a solution, shifting the cost center from research to vendor managementdealing with a different group of people and costs for each component of your stack. And ongoing costs are another consideration. Without the human resources and skills on hand to manage your solution, you must hire or contract. That translates into applications, interviews, evaluationsmore time added to the project’s completion.

Even once your solution is constructed and your team in place, you have more time to wait before it begins returning value. Like any new process or solution, you have to know if and how this new stack works. Prep work, integration management, testing, bug fixesall are critical processes, but all add time to the project completion schedule while simultaneously driving IT resource costs.

Simple Means Savings Without Sacrifices

The flip side of the custom-architecture approach is the “buy it” approach. A proven pilot shortens time to value, and minimizes operational and technical risk. Plus, it gives your business the nimbleness and responsivity of data-driven insights without the overhead and heavy investment required by the “build it” option.

The most effective strategy for the “buy it” approach is to choose data solutions that work well together and produce big results for your team. A great example is the partnership between ETL, data warehouse, and business intelligence (BI) leaders Panoply, Stitch and Chartio in the new Automatic Cloud Data Stack. Utilizing each company's expertise (Chartio’s business intelligence, Stitch’s ETL data processing, and Panoply’s data warehouse architecture and query AI), we’ve pulled together an automatic, customizable data stack suitable for all levels of IT sophistication.

What’s that mean in real terms? Automation allows hands-free data flow from source to brain to outputjust a few clicks to determine what you need, and the program does the rest. The accessible, democratized interface eliminates the need for special IT resources, computer languages or skills. Even non-technical staff can use the Automatic Cloud Data Stack to select the information they need in order to get a fuller picture of the data available, and better insights into the business questions they’re trying to answer. This releases the pressure on your IT department, positioning them less in a data creation role and more as a strategic internal business partner. Everyone’s happieryour team, because they’re receiving actionable information with quick turnaround; leadership, because people are proactively and efficiently gaining access to the data they need to succeed; IT, because they’re able to get their heads above water; and finance, because this new IT solution showed value immediately without breaking the bank.

The “buy it” option’s not a magic bullet, but it checks the functional requirements boxes and gives your business the tools it needs to get a well-designed, high-performance data stack with strong ROI.

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