We recently announced a new partnership with Snowflake, the market-leading integrated cloud data platform delivered as a service. Our service offerings, powered by Snowflake and with the added benefits of their platform, will help our prospects and customers further evolve their investments in business intelligence. Together, we will focus on helping businesses transform their data from operational reporting and analytics to predictive analytics in an environment of rapid migration to cloud-based analytics and AI.
We spoke with four members of our team to hear firsthand what most excites them about the partnership — what opportunities it provides, how Atrium and Snowflake work in tandem to get results for customers, and what our combined efforts mean for the Salesforce ecosystem at large.
Kyle Bowerman, Data Science Architect
As a delivery consultant at Atrium, I am very excited about our partnership with Snowflake, as well as Snowflake’s partnership with Salesforce. We seldom start a project that does not start with large volumes of diverse data provided by the customer. Amazon S3 buckets, the Switzerland of internet storage, always seem to be the preferred and most secure location to transition said data.
By adding Snowflake to the mix, we can start the discovery processes closer to the raw data source without having to load into intermediate datastores to start feature engineering. This provides a more natural and streamlined data pipeline and allows us to iterate faster.
Traditional data warehouses have good structure but are difficult to add new sources to because of the normalization task. Data lakes solve this problem but introduce a new challenge in the sense that the system itself is monolithic and the data can be stale and the volume can be unwieldy. Snowflake belongs to the third generation of these products known as a data mesh, and it provides the best of both worlds. Being a centrally managed distributed system allows data engineers to aggregate sources without compromising timeliness. By decoupling storage and processing, Snowflake allows data engineers to create data pipelines that cross platforms but feel like a classic RDBMS.
Enterprises that are boxed in by their current data warehouse, or are sinking due to the volumes of their data lake are good candidates for Snowflake. Even greenfield customers who are planning for non-trivial volumes of structured and unstructured data can benefit from Snowflake.
What Makes Snowflake Unique in the Salesforce Ecosystem
Snowflake is a unique player in the Salesforce ecosystem because they are not a marketplace extension app nor are they a connector from another multi-cloud platform. They are the Switzerland of cloud data management. Snowflake is the bridge between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS that developers and the business have been searching for for years.
The thing that I am most excited about with Einstein-Snowflake is the ability to move much of the heavy lifting of aggregation and overall pipeline closer to the source, with the ability to ramp up the processing power as needed.
Dustin Weaver, Snowflake Practice Lead and Analytics Architect
Because Snowflake lives outside of the Salesforce platform, it presents an opportunity to focus not only on the core CRM data but also on other systems within an enterprise. A close partnership between Snowflake and Salesforce means better support and compatibility. In particular, a direct connector between Snowflake and Salesforce would eliminate the need for a middleware between the two.
I’m most excited about getting the core CRM data out of Salesforce and into a customer’s overall data ecosystem. There’s so much opportunity for better insights when all the data is in a single spot.
Traditional Data Warehouses vs. Centralized Storage
A partnership between Atrium and Snowflake is a match made in heaven. Atrium’s mission is to use a customer’s data to surface actionable insights and provide an intelligent experience to a customer’s workforce. The number one requirement for this to happen is a complete and comprehensive source of data. The more siloed or spread out this data is, the harder it is to gather and combine this data into usable datasets.
Snowflake solves this problem by providing a single source to migrate and analyze data. By having multiple systems move their data to Snowflake, Atrium can better understand a customer’s data landscape and spend more time on mining insights than doing pure integration/migration work.
Snowflake provides an opportunity over traditional warehouses in the ease of scale and accessibility. One of the hardest parts of having a traditional warehouse is ensuring you scale appropriately enough for performance, while also controlling costs. With traditional warehouses, one you purchase capacity, you are now stuck with the administrative burden of that extra capacity (i.e., backups, maintenance, etc.), even if demand drops. Snowflake allows you to scale up when demand is high, then scale back when demand settles.
This benefits customers who are stuck with a traditional data warehouse that would require expensive upgrades to improve performance — customers who are looking to start a new warehouse but are unsure of the capacity they need. And customers that are looking to consolidate their data to enable faster and more accurate reporting and machine learning opportunities.
Having all your data in a centralized storage area eases the implementation of analytics and machine learning. Data that was previously siloed within certain systems can now be enriched with data from other systems within a customer’s Snowflake instance.
Chris Heineken, CEO
Snowflake represents a next-generation data platform that can help companies redefine the accessibility of information across the enterprise. Over the last several years, even the most data-driven companies have struggled to blend information across functional silos. In many cases, legacy data warehouses became too cumbersome to access. Business users frequently “took a number” in a long line of backlogged enhancement requests to under-resourced IT teams who struggled to keep data warehouses on par with the fast-changing business landscape. The blending of information between the data warehouse and systems of engagement rarely happened at the speed of business.
Real-Time Access Allows for Better Decision Making
The great promise of Snowflake is to allow real-time access across sales, service, finance, and supply chain functions — all in real-time, allowing for better decision making. Typically we see companies struggle with modernizing forecasting, customer retention, and lead management capabilities because of a labyrinth of information sources that must be navigated. Snowflake represents potential enterprise visibility into problems that have most often been bogged down in information silos.
I am excited to see how companies will be able to blend processes like forecasting across sales, finance, and demand planning in one data platform. Enterprise visibility through a data platform like Snowflake is going to allow many companies to blow past barriers and into new areas of innovation.
Data is the Fuel for the Intelligent Experience
This is true, regardless of whether we are talking about traditional analytics or predictions. You can think of Snowflake as the refinery. It’s a centralized distribution point for information that can be refined and surfaced in Salesforce and elsewhere to help drive better business outcomes through intelligence.
Together, Snowflake and Salesforce provide access to the right information, at the right time, within the flow of where people work in Salesforce today. Simplifying access to information from Snowflake can drive better decision making and better business outcomes.
Atrium already had a world-class data practice, and now we are extending that capability to address the full spectrum of cloud-based data warehousing needs. Snowflake further enhances our abilities to provide strategic, transformational intelligence capabilities to our customers. It lets us help them more fully utilize their valuable data assets.
The Ideal Snowflake Customer
Snowflake helps simplify data architecture by providing a high-performance, highly scalable, and highly reliable data refinery for aggregating, enhancing, and surfacing information assets. It will benefit anyone who hasn’t begun their data warehousing journey, or anyone who has but is hindered by sluggish and cumbersome on-premise data warehousing solutions.