data lakes and warehouses articles

DIA Webinar Recap: Simplifying Data Lake and Modern BI Architecture

By Melanie Deardorff

Simplifying things doesn’t mean it’s simple or easy to do, but it’s a worthwhile effort that can deliver value. This was the underlying theme of our February DATAVERSITY webinar, Simplifying Data Lake and Modern BI Architecture, which was sponsored by Looker Data.

Our webinar presenters, Founder and CEO of First San Francisco Partners Kelle O’Neal and our Chief Delivery Officer John Ladley, kept things simple throughout the webinar by covering four main topics:

  • What “Simplifying” Really Means
  • Processes for Modern Business Intelligence (BI) Architecture
  • Deployment Process Requirements
  • Bridging the Gap: Traditional BI to Contemporary BI and Data Lakes

In the spirit of keeping things simple, here’s an overview of the first half of our February webinar. The one-hour recording, available here, includes the full webinar and the audience Q&A. You can download our webinar material from DATAVERSITY’s SlideShare page.

Simplified Architecture Webinar Highlights

Elements of a simplified architecture:

  • Flexible when modifications are required
  • Not easily disrupted (broken)
  • Easier to use with more self-service capabilities
  • More consensus on its structure
  • Easier to manage and govern
  • Its simplification comes from “lessons learned”

Kelle and John encouraged the webinar audience to look through two “lenses” to derive an effective architecture:

  • form – developing an architecture so all stakeholders can actually understand and develop it
  • progression – an architecture that is “best fit for purpose” and effective, no matter how simple or complex its structure

It’s also important to consider what informs an organization’s data architecture, including business needs, organizational culture, data characteristics (latency, volumes and quality), the data landscape and understanding the architectures you’re currently using today.

Components of today's data lake environment: a Landing Zone, Standardization Zone and Analytics Sandbox.

Components of today’s data lake environment: Landing Zone, Standardization Zone and Analytics Sandbox.

John reviewed the elements of a modern data lake (landing zone, standardization zone and analytics sandbox) and referred the audience back to our October webinar, which covered lake architecture in detail.

Simply Summing Things Up

John closed the call with advice to not completely reinvent the (data architecture) wheel, offering these parting thoughts:

  • Simplifying means being able to use and adapt your BI/Data Lake architecture without a lot of trauma.
  • If your BI/Data Lake architecture reflects your business environment, it will be easier to understand and use.
  • Blindly adapting an external reference architecture is a formula for confusion, i.e., complexity.
  • Leverage what you have — i.e., the knowledge, expertise and opportunities in your organization.

Famous Quotes, Simply Said

Want to keep the idea of simplicity top of mind? Here are some notable quotes we shared during the webinar:

  • “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “My goal is to simplify complexity. I just want to build stuff that really simplifies our base human interaction.” (Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey)
  • And, quite appropriate for a discussion about data architecture, “The architect should strive continually to simplify; the ensemble of the rooms should then be carefully considered that comfort and utility may go hand in hand with beauty.” (Frank Lloyd Wright)

Up Next Month: Effective Communications in Analytics

Our Data Insights & Analytics series continues Thursday, March 1 with The Importance of Effective Communications in Analytics webinar — and we hope you make plans to join us. To be notified of upcoming educational programs and other First San Francisco Partners news, opt in to our “FSFP insiders” list.

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