Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Data Cloud

 One of the more commonly used buzz words these days is Data Cloud, it has been used as a marketing term mainly in the Cloud Domain across different business/organizations. There is a concept underneath the word Data cloud, it is mainly aimed at having data available in/migrated in the public cloud offerings such as Amazon, azure, Google Cloud. One of the key projects that have been undertaken by lots of organizations across different Business is how does one have data available in the cloud without compromising on the security aspect of data. I had the opportunity to attend listen to the data cloud summit 2020 organized by Snowflake. It was a virtual event organized by Snowflake where features of the snowflake was discussed in different sessions. There were also use cases presented by different Customers, Vendor Partners on how they are utilizing snowflake for the data projects and how much impact has this product had on their Business. There were some interesting points that i had picked up from different Sessions, i am listing them below. They cover a variety of topics related to Data.

1. Compute/Storage: Snowflake Separates compute from Storage, this is one of the main concepts in this product which has been highlighted by lot of customers. How this concept helps them in their daily data operations and business.
2. Scalability - Ability to ingest multiple workloads, this is a common requirement across all customers.
3. Simplify: Simplification of the Data Pipeline. How can one get the raw data and turn them into actionable insights quickly, this is called the lapse time. One of the questions raised is that does all the transformation of the data happen during early hours in the morning? Can this be spread out or done in real time?
4. Data Silos: Breaking down Data silos is a significant effort that is being undertaken by different organizations. Data Silos has a direct/indirect impact on cost and efficiency in a very negative way. One of the reasons for using a product like Snowflake is to break down the data silios, having data data in one place. This would allow better understandability ad searchability for the data in an organization.
5. Proof of Value: Data cloud products or cloud offerings need to provide a proof of value. It has to be tangible for the business, how does the investment in cloud provide better results for the business.
6. Orchestration: Since there is movement to cloud infrastructure taking place at different pace, there needs to be better orchestration across multiple cloud installations. This can lead to better abstraction, this is the challenge lot of companies are facing today.
7. Data is an Asset: Data can be monetized in the following ways: Generating value for the Business, reducing costs.
8. Support: Snowflake provides good support tools, Cost Effective. Some of the customers explained how the uptime of snowflake has been very good in spite of the huge data loads coming into the system.
9. Data: What type of information needs to be sent out/provisioned. One of the guest mentioned there are two important aspects with respect to data: 1. Information that a person needs to know, 2, How the information will affect you.

Overall lot of information in a single day event, i am sure each one of the aspects mentioned above can lead to deeper discussions and/or projects. The event provided a overall perspective of where things are headed in the data space and how companies are planning their work in the coming years.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Product Manager - Thoughts/Observations

 One of the profession/roles that is talked about, discussed, in demand is the role of a product manager especially in the technology world. There is lot of enquiries or need for Product Managers, also the recent COVID crisis has challenged the business and hence lot of Product Managers also lost Jobs. A interesting trend i have noticed is that there are product managers who have a couple of years experience to folks who have 10 Years or more of work experience. It is a very broad spectrum and hence lot of questions are raised around who can be a good product Manager. Also noticed that there folks who want to become a Product Manager are the ones who do want to code in certain areas of business. Let me try to take a deeper look and pen down my Observations. In Some cases Product Manager roles have become glamorous in the sense that it feels nice to say one is a PM.

Product Manager in my discussions with colleagues/professionals is a very important and crucial role in a organization. The role is is at the intersection of the following:

1. Business
2. Technology
3. Customers

So a person who is approaching a PM Role needs to understand the dynamics of the above 3 components. There needs to be a understand of how the 3 components work together. What is the primary business of a n organization what products do they have for customers. Secondly what type of technology is used to build the products, thirdly who are your customers. In Summary one needs to understand high level picture plus also understand the details behind what is being delivered.

Let us dwell a little deeper into each of the components:
  • Business - Understand the business strategy for the company and the Line of Business. Get a gauge on the stakeholders, understand the budget/resources that could be available for you product in terms of development/research/maintenance,What are the interfacing units and dependencies. How is the company performing financially and the target markets.
  • Technology: Understanding The tools being used to develop the product, what type of vendor lock is there , is it based on a Open source Architecture with less of vendor Lock in. In terms of data, what are the data sources, are the data sources very disparate or well integrated. Are there opportunities to streamline the data. One important aspect that is being experimented today is if Product management can be totally driven, if decisions could be justified by data.This is going to be even important in a data/information filled world.
  • Customers: Getting continuous feedback from customers, conducting surveys/talking to customers to get feedback on product usage/issues faced. Conducting useability studies and getting them back into the product backlog. Adopting a agile approach to building a product/collaborating with them to get the proper engagement.
In Summary, Product Manager is a exciting but a challenging role, it is imperative that one has the proper grooming/mentoring to get to a PM Role. There is a lot of temptation to cut corners(Like i won't do certain things...) to achieve it, but the consequences can be devastating that could erode self confidence. It would best to have a plan of action, set of goals and work with a mentor to achieve the results.