Author BPCS Team

The Modern Data Estate Explained: An Interview with Blueprint’s Solution Architect Jeba Selvarej

May 20 2020 | Modern Data Estate

"Companies don’t want to spend years building a platform and only then begin to explore and utilize the data they already have; they want to be working in the data now."

At Blueprint, one of our key Practice Areas is helping clients establish their Modern Data Estate. However, many are not familiar with the term nor do they understand the benefits of having a modernized data pipeline. We interviewed our Solution Architect, Jeba Selvaraj, to help answer some of the most asked questions.

What does Modern Data Estate actually mean?

The world is changing. Previously, companies built platforms architecturally and it took years and years to build something that allowed for advanced consumption and analysis of data. Now, everybody wants everything in a very short time frame. Companies don’t want to spend years building a platform and only then begin to explore and utilize the data they already have; they want to be working in the data now. Cloud platforms provide that speed as one of the higher-end platforms we use to make all an organization’s relevant data consumable. Simply put, a Modern Data Estate is the infrastructure that enables a company to systematically manage and consume corporate data in near real-time.  

What experience does Blueprint bring to the Modern Data Estate practice area?

The Modern Data Estate is ever-evolving and Blueprint has years of experience delivering Modern Data Estate solutions to clients in industries as varied as retail, technology, gaming, manufacturing, and energy. We custom-build teams for each project with deep industry-specific experience so that there’s no time wasted in onboarding. This ensures that our clients realize the value of their data quickly and are well-prepared for ongoing success.

I understand cloud storage is one of the main components of the Modern Data Estate. What are some of the other components that make up a Modern Data Estate?

Cloud storage is a big one, definitely. Virtualization is the other major component. With many modern businesses, customers have data all over the place, in many differing formats. They may have some data in the cloud, some on-premises, and any number of hybrid storage locations. So being able to manage and wrangle all that disparate data is a real challenge. They don’t want to worry about, “Where is my cloud? Or where is my data coming from?” They also don’t want to bog down their production data with complex queries or analytics and building a data virtualization layer makes all that possible. Data virtualization is the other key component to a Modern Data Estate, and it’s still evolving. Many customers are just beginning to look at data virtualization, and it’s a technology that’s evolving rapidly. Blueprint is very experienced in helping customers smartly plan and implement their data storage and virtualization strategies.

What are some of the benefits of having a well-run Modern Data Estate?

In the past, businesses from small “mom & pop” shops to global enterprises would collect and store different data in varying ways and on varying platforms. They would have one system for capturing transactional data, then they would build another for basic analytics, and another platform for more complex analytics, such as forecasting. And on and on. Each component worked separately and often did not communicate well. All those components are now coming together into one. Businesses need the ability to consume data across the organization and do so rapidly in order to survive.

On the flip side of that, what are some of the risks that companies face if they’re not fully engaging in building and maintaining a Modern Data Estate?

The primary risks to companies come from the high number of discrete data steps involved in using an outdated data estate. They have so much data in different places, it’s really impossible to keep track of. It’s a common story, if I’m a Business Analyst and the CFO wants to know about my data set, I would try to work out where the data is and where it’s going, and I would have to explain that there are different versions of data in different places. When you have one data platform, you have one place where your data is set, and that allows you to take the data and answer these questions easily and quickly. With a Modern Data Estate, you can always take that data and transform it any way you like, but if it is all kept in your Modern Data Estate, you can also find where the data was transformed, how it was changed, and why it was changed.

What are the steps that organizations go through when setting up a Modern Data Estate for the first time?

At Blueprint, the first thing we want to look at is the client’s current data platform. We dive into  what they currently have and strategize how we can modernize their platform. They might have data in different places, different ways of ingesting that data, and different ways of using that data. We would want to know all of that from the start. We take our established Blueprint methodology and see how that can be brought to bear to solve clients’ business problems. We have many frameworks that we’ve built, and they are repeatable in many cases. We use those established frameworks and methodologies to help clients get their data from their existing platforms and sources and into their new Modern Data Estate platform. Blueprint specializes in solving these types of problems. Once we get the data into the Modern Data Estate, it’s there for anyone to consume.

How does a company know that it’s time to develop a Modern Data Estate?

Honestly, the time is always right because data is wasted if it can’t be of use to the business. Nearly every company is looking at cloud storage, and many services are becoming more cloud-focused. This is a great time for customers to start building their Modern Data Estate so that when the next huge opportunity arises, they will have a data platform that allows them to seize it and take advantage of it.

What are some of the coolest and most impactful things that you have seen companies be able to do that with their Modern Data Estate?

Okay, the coolest thing is the platforms. I mentioned before that there are various platforms that are available now, so depending on what the client really wants to accomplish, we can implement a specific pattern, a specific product, or a specific platform. This is the right time to have a platform and structure built because companies have the data; they just don’t have the ability to easily surface it so that they can make impactful business decisions and recognize future opportunities.

Thanks for your time, Jeba, this has been super informative.

Thank you.


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