Building BI Into Your Cloud Migration

Truth Bomb Incoming:

You are not a prisoner to your cloud migration timeline.

Though your data may be on a protracted journey to the cloud, you aren’t blindfolded and handcuffed until that data lands. And sitting idle for months without the actionable insights you need to drive key business decisions? Let’s put this parody to rest for good.

Cloud migrations are long and complicated. There’s no way around it. But in an age when big, complex data is treated as a natural resource and used to fuel decisions and grow businesses on a daily basis, migration isn’t a credible excuse to delay the adoption of a BI platform. In fact, it’s one of the riskiest and potentially expensive excuses you can make for yourself and your business.

Every organization experiences a normal learning curve during cloud migration—but this learning curve isn’t an inevitability of lost time and insights. A strategic cloud migration shouldn’t be treated as a simple data dump but, rather, as a single part of a holistic cloud data strategy. With the right BI platform and mindset, this learning curve can be leveraged as an opportunity to perfect and customize your data model for the cloud and BI simultaneously, save time, reduce feedback loops, and keep the BI insights flowing—even when your data is in transit.

Perfect Your Data Model

Your data model is the architecture that powers all of your business-critical IT systems. Conceptually, a data model is a map that allows you to visualize the different places that a software or application stores information, and how these sources of data will fit together and flow into one another. When applied, your data model is implemented within your BI tool, powered by data connectors that work regardless of where your data is stored.

Making the move to a cloud-based server or a cloud-hybrid solution isn’t often a drag and drop situation. We rarely encounter an organization that’s taking their on-prem database, picking it up, and moving it straight to the cloud as is.

Unless your data model is a true work of art, you’re likely using this migration as an opportunity to take inventory on your data, streamline your data infrastructure and naming conventions, clean up your tables, and ensure that your new cloud-based solution will be convenient and accessible to the builders and business users who need access to it. If that’s the case for you, the cognitive dissonance is understandable. Why would you invest in BI software when your data model is under construction?

Here’s why:

  • Implementing a BI Platform requires the same data model TLC. It’s rare to encounter a data model that’s a single-click away from producing meaningful business insights.
  • This is not a case of adopting a BI platform now even though the structure of your data is changing. In fact, you are adopting a BI platform now because the structure of your data is changing.

Prioritize a BI Mindset

Why are you spending time streamlining the structure of your data? Simply because you’re migrating to the cloud?

No! You’re perfecting your data model so that once your data lives in the cloud, it’s easy to access, query, and use. You want to ensure that your data, no matter where it lives, serves a clear purpose in your organization. And if its purpose isn’t first and foremost to inform key business decisions, then what is it for?

Many organizations make the mistake of thinking they can only focus on one aspect of data management at a time. First, they focus on the location of their data, and only after their data has a home do they pivot to ensure that home is structured to ensure their data is useable. But savvy cloud migrations lead with a BI mindset. You want to ensure that the structure of your data fits the basic (but very specific) requirements of a BI platform to ensure you’re getting value from your data no matter where you store it.

Save Time & Reduce Feedback Loops

We’ve determined that a strategic cloud migration is the perfect opportunity to clean up your data model—and that cleaning up your data model is the first step of a meaningful BI project. We’ve also determined that regardless of where your data resides, it’s utility and accessibility should be your first priority.

So it goes without saying that implementing a BI platform during your cloud migration is going to save you time and iterations on your data model by combining these two vital business processes. Because a good BI platform is flexible—and can handle your data no matter where it lives. All it requires is a solid data model. And you’re doing that anyways!

Cloud migration is the perfect time to work with your BI provider to create a CSV mockup of how your data will be structured in the cloud. And once you have that model - switching those CSV files to be read from a cloud database requires three clicks. That’s the magic of a solid BI platform. As long as the column names you define in your data model are used in your cloud solution at the end of the migration, you can switch from CSV to Excel to Google Sheet to MySQL to Oracle to AWS in a single click. And you can also rest assured that the data model you’re building for your new cloud solution is BI friendly. Two birds, one stone.

Banish the BI Black Hole

Combining your cloud migration with a BI initiative, in the end, enables you to glean insights from your data and continue making informed business decisions even while your data is in transit. And it goes without saying that your company can’t afford to stall decision-making processes until the end of the migration, or worse yet, make uninformed decisions with cloud migration as an excuse.

While your cloud migration is underway, your need for uninterrupted business intelligence is fueled by your data model, regardless of the data source. Once defined, that data model fuels the dashboards you design and build, giving any stakeholder access to the insights they require. Because it doesn’t matter if your data is coming from an on-prem database, AWS, or the moon. All that matters is that your data model is up to snuff. With a powerful BI platform, you can keep data connected live from the cloud while analyzing from other legacy sources throughout the cloud migration process—never losing data fidelity.

And when all of your data finally lands in the cloud? Your data model is already set and ready to go! Your dashboards are showing your stakeholders the insights they need to make decisions that impact your business.

And what do you do now? Click, click, click to change your BI platform’s data sources. And you’re ready to rumble.

Can’t afford a BI black hole during cloud migration?

We’ve got you covered.