Deploying a successful technology solution, especially in data management, takes more than just installing software and writing a job (or multiple jobs… thousands in some cases), and running those jobs. If you’re taking on a new data management initiative, deploying using containers and serverless technology, migrating from traditional data sources to Hadoop, or from on-premises to the cloud, you may be sailing in unfamiliar waters.
The rate of change in technology, the explosion of data, and the requirements of business all demand that IT organizations continually innovate. Whenever you’re doing something transformational and cutting-edge, you’re taking a bit of a risk and you’re going to have to work with a limited skill set or expertise in the area to which you’re trying to migrate, learn quickly as you go, and iterate quickly to incorporate those learnings.
The Risk/Reward Profile
Companies have historically been rewarded for innovation. Being first to market with a new technology or innovation can provide great financial outcomes, but the side of the road is also littered with initiatives that were either too early with an innovation or didn’t adequately plan to mitigate risk.
At Talend, we’ve built a framework for adoption that includes key elements that both manage risk and set you up for success. It’s a framework through which we internally look at our customer deployments and one which we’re starting to share with customers directly so that we can have a transparent conversation about what’s going well, where we see potential challenges in the future, and how we can work together proactively to address those issues. We’ve created a framework called the ‘’Seven Factors to Successful Adoption.” These include:
- Stakeholder Engagement: Are your stakeholders effectively engaged? Do you have business users involved and invested in the successful outcome of the project and do they have something to gain or lose with the outcome of your deployment? Ideally that stakeholder is tied to an objective that drives business outcome. At our most successful customers, CIOs and CDOs have a stake in the outcome of the business problem we’re trying to solve, share their vision and strategy, and ensure that their project roadmap and key initiatives map to our technology roadmap – which we regularly share. Can you get access to your executive sponsors easily and are they willing to invest the time and effort to ensure that a project is set up for success because there’s a meaningful business outcome for them?
- Project and Business Value Alignment: Is this IT initiative tied to an outcome that has real business value and are the goals of this IT initiative tied to tangible business outcomes? For example, one Talend customer didn’t simply embark upon a science experiment with real time streaming, Talend Data Catalog and our APIs because they thought the technology was interesting. They had real financial objectives associated with getting access to trusted information in a matter of seconds rather than weeks. Given the quicker access to data they could trust, they were able to make that data available to external customers to derive value from it for the first time. They now receive 20% of their revenue from data that they’re able to provide to external customers.
- Team Readiness: Is the project team set up for success? In many cases, it’s about more than just having smart developers on the team. In the case of containerization, serverless deployments or migrations to the cloud, the team on the project (like a large portion of the global IT population) may be performing their first cloud deployment. The more you can supplement your internal team with knowledge and skills from others who have real world experience (and yes, some battle scars) from deploying cloud technologies, the more value you can drive with greater speed and less risk. A successful project team will require more than just smart people, it will require assistance from others who have navigated the waters of cloud adoption. We regularly partner with our customers and SI partners to ensure that we’re providing guidance in new technologies, deploying and designing the Talend solution properly, and supporting a team collaboratively.
- Architecture: Do you have the right architecture? While this may again sound straightforward, cloud can be a significant paradigm shifts, and an architecture that performed well in the legacy world may not provide expected performance in a new architectural paradigm. For example, managing database connection pools from an on premises “always connected” application can differ significantly from how you manage connections from within a container that spins up and down as needed to take advantage of the cloud cost model. Also, if you’re moving data from on-premises to the cloud, or from cloud-to-cloud, there are best practices to follow that can make a big difference with respect to security or performance.
- Job Design: Has your job design been validated and have you built consistency around it so that it will perform well now and at scale? Do you have consistent error handling? Are you using context variables effectively? Our Customer Success Architecture and Professional Services teams have published best practices and spent time consulting with customers in order to ensure that their jobs are able to scale. In addition, it’s important that your team publish internal job design standards as you scale so that additional developers are creating jobs that follow those best practices.
- Growth Strategy: Does your team have a growth strategy beyond the initial project? Projects tend to be more successful when they are either part of a greater initiative or if there is a logical next step. For example, if simple ingestion is your “end game”, you may soon find you’re your users won’t trust the data without a good understanding of where it came from. They may require a catalog or information about the lineage of that data. You may also want to ensure that you’re deduplicating records and performing other data quality steps that provide needed governance. Additionally, the uptake of technology tends to have a tailwind if the project is seen as part of a greater initiative as opposed to a one-off. And if you aren’t thinking about cloud, containerization, and serverless technologies, we should probably talk.
- Ongoing Alignment and Checkpoints: We love to hear success stories from our customers. At Talend Connect this year, a number of our customers shared the business value they received working with Talend. We also like to hear from you how we can be doing a better job to help you meet your objectives. Are we aligning regularly? Do we know your major initiatives and milestones? Do we have regular calls or meetings between our team members and do we have a communication framework that allows us to check in with each other on those milestones? A close relationship between partners provides an opportunity to surface observations that, if managed proactively, can ensure alignment between product roadmap/features and implementation strategy/requirements. At the speed the IT world is changing, and at the rate the cloud is exploding, we should be meeting and discussing the trends that we’re seeing in data management on a regular basis.
I hope you find this framework useful. We’re excited about the successes it has enabled so far as well as the risks and challenges that it has surfaced as we’ve shared it with customers. We always come away from these conversations with a better understanding of what we should more of and what we should do differently.
To learn more about our best practices, or to connect with us for a conversation, please go to our Customer Success page or contact your CSM directly for more information on how we can help ensure your journey to the cloud is a success. I look forward to sharing more information on our framework in future blog posts.