Realizing the value of data has always been difficult. Traditional ETL and data warehousing projects tend to be expensive, time-consuming, and often end up being a multi-year revenue drain.
If realizing value for internal use was difficult, monetizing the data was even harder.
Traditional data projects were often built to handle spikes in reporting needs, and traditional data platforms have often been built keeping in mind these spikes.
This means that the data infrastructure was hardly used. Data as a service (DaaS) optimizes the infrastructure utilization more efficiently by allowing just-in-time capacity expansion.
Snowflake already offers a DaaS platform designed to help organizations scale faster and easier, while Amazon Web Services also offers several DaaS platforms that help both traditional warehouse-like capabilities as well as data lakes.
Arjun Devdas, senior vice president of Vuram’s professional services and operations, Americas, explained data as a service (DaaS) shifts the economics towards operating expenses, which means CFOs no longer have to budget for big capital expenses and can pay as they go.
“In this regard, DaaS is very much like SaaS or Iaas,” he said. “DaaS shifts the focus towards value creation in much the same way as Agile did to WaterFall methodology.”
Devdas explained there are two common reasons why CIOs have difficulty with DaaS: One is sunk cost associated with their current architecture, and the other is security.
“To overcome sunk costs, CIOs can introduce DaaS over a while, gradually, do a pilot, show the value, and can expand the use over some time,” he said.
He noted sensitivity around data and data privacy are very important topics and said certifications in data protection coupled with improved organization policies are important factors to consider.
“Data skepticism is also an important topic,” he added. “Data can be massaged in many different ways to project various reports or stories. Healthy skepticism is probably a good thing when it comes to data.”
That means CIOs should embrace a culture that takes data seriously and questions the authenticity of the data and the data transformation methods.
“As with statistics, users can weave powerful stories with data, sometimes even contradictory ones,” Devdas said.
David Woodall, director of product marketing at Trintech, pointed out as organizations move to global ERP with the vision to deploy a single instance, finance operations often realize that a global solution often results in blind spots within their overall operations.
He explained the increased availability and use of SaaS tools allow organizations to efficiently deploy bespoke tools for key areas of their operation, especially as the technology develops to enable these systems to be quickly and effectively integrated to move data seamlessly.
“DaaS now opens up these blind spots by allowing data from these bespoke systems to be channeled to a single dashboard through business intelligence tools,” he said. “These BI tools are also more common, so the build and maintenance become simpler as more people in the market use them.”
He advised CFOs to focus on a holistic solution and think about an overall DaaS strategy as part of their transformation approach to ensure that, alongside using technology to drive change, they also consider data warehouse solutions and BI solutions.
For the CFO or CAO, DaaS can increase real time visibility on both finance and organizational risks, and support a more robust control framework, one which reduces reliance on manual transfer of updating existing dashboards that are usually on SharePoint or Excel.
“For CIOs, a cloud solution for data reduces the internal investment required,” he said. “Costs now become annual operating costs rather than capital investment on internal infrastructure.”
Woodall added bespoke solutions versus customized internal systems also reduce the risks of issues when systems are upgraded, and reduce the reliance on internal knowledge retention that can be lost through staff attrition.
“Other benefits include improved service, as real time data movement requires less manual intervention, as well as the ability to reduce costs,” he added.
He explained the role of CFO will also evolve and change as the adoption of DaaS grows.
“CFOs able to add value with data insights, increase controls, and better coordinate career planning and staff development,” he said.
Devdas pointed out CFOs need to be convinced about both value creation and the benefits of OpEx versus CapEx.
“Just like how SaaS matured over a period owing to the superior CapEx and ease of use, DaaS will also likely grow and become mainstream in the days to come,” he said. “CIOs can also convince CFOs with examples of internally successful SaaS migration projects and the benefits found within them.”