With falling, data storage costs and the ability of corporations to capture a range of data implementing a data lake solution can seem like a no-brainer. But as we outlined in one of our earlier posts implementing a data lake is not about collecting data and dumping it in an AWS S3 instance.
An effective Data Lake is a repository that allows a corporation to store all its unstructured as well as structured data, at any scale, on the cloud, in Prem or hybrid. There is no need to organize the data and run the entire process of analytics before storing data.
By implementing a Data Lake, corporations undertake multiple activities ranging from analysing log files, click-streams, social media, and IOT devices in a more efficient manner. Data Lake can also help corporations identify patterns helping them recognize new business opportunities.
Even with these advantages before the implementation of a Data Lake, a business should ask the following 5 questions to itself and have a clear picture of its business ideas.
Q1 What kind of data are corporations dealing with?
If a corporation is working with a range of data across formats like structured, unstructured, semi-structured that is continually being generated, then it should consider implementing a Data Lake. Traditional RDBMS platforms are not up to the task of being able to do this and in case this can be achievable the cost of saving and structuring such data in a relational database will be very restrictive.
But if a corporation is working with table-structured information such as records included in the CRM or HR systems, in that case, a Data Lake is not needed. A Data Warehouse will do this task more effectively.
Data Warehouse and Data Lake are very distinct from each other. Many business organizations can benefit from the incorporation of these two technologies as they are parallel to each other and perform different functions.
Q2 How is a corporation planning to leverage the data?
It is important to have a plan; understand what business case a corporation wants to address before starting to implement a data lake. Data Lake encourages you to store the data now and analyze it later. When your business collected data from various and complex sources, it is best suited to store your data in Data lake. You can efficiently analyze, organize, and categorize them later on at your convenience.
Q3 What kind of tools and software applications are currently being used by your employees in your organization?
Working with Data Lake requires high-end software applications ranging from Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3 to GCP, and qualified engineers to do the task. The Data Lake software is not as simple as Excel or Word. If a business does not have the related experts to look after the Data Lake work, a corporation can go for SaaS solutions or outsource data lake deployment. If it is a problem to attain such skills in an enterprise, then it is best to stick to a traditional approach until you manage to onboard professionals to process, build, and manage your Data Lake.
Q4 How difficult is your data acquisition method?
Integrating new sources into a data lake is a resource-intensive process for business organizations. If a corporation continuously acquiring new records especially unstructured or semi-structured, there are chances that it will find itself in serious ETL overhead.
Data lake requires a corporation to process its records for it to work with. If this process proves to be cost and time prohibitive or requires giving up some of your resources, then you should opt for Data Lake. It allows corporations to store data with minimum cost, and then extract and transform the data when it’s needed.
Q5 How do the changes and new additions work with companies working culture?
A company should only make changes in its working culture to reduce the workload, increase inter-departmental efficiency, or to teach its employees new skills. Many people are flexible and accept changes positively, and many are not. Every time you plan to make changes in your working culture and bring in technological changes, this is something that corporations need to keep in mind.
The transition should be smooth, and the employees should be trained under professional experts for the proper functioning of the business enterprise. If the people are not co-operative and participate, all of this can go into waste.
These are just a few questions that a corporation needs to ask before deploying a Data Lake. It may prove to be a boon or a bane. A detailed study and planning are very essential for all of them to fall in place and work systematically. Every organization works differently and requires a different set of technologies and it needs to understand its business requirements and to make data lake deployment easy and productive.