The View from the Lakehouse Blog Series PART 1
By Scott Love
Recently, Lovelytics held our first in-person all-hands meeting in more than a year. We gathered at our headquarters in Arlington, VA to socialize, strategize, and evaluate past decisions.
A major theme this year (and in years past) was the changing needs of our clients, and how Lovelytics must maintain firm opinions on which technologies are best suited to meet those needs. This year, we had the opportunity to reflect on our Databricks practice. Specifically, we discussed the value generated for our clients, and the innovative solutions we’ve co-developed with Databricks to help clients accelerate time-to-value.
In the end, we realized just how much Databricks is transforming our business. Here’s why we’re betting big on the Databricks Lakehouse platform—and why you should too.
At Lovelytics, partnership is thoughtful and deliberate
Before we dive into why we’re betting on Databricks, let’s go back to the beginnings of Lovelytics. Our journey started back in 2017 with our Tableau partnership. We all know that data helps organizations manage current business challenges and unlock future opportunities. However, at that time most organizations didn’t (and still don’t) have an army of SQL-savvy folks at the ready to gain access to data and perform an analysis. Tableau upended the game, giving everyone the ability to self-serve analytics, and use them to make better decisions.
We saw the power in this and decided to place a big bet on Tableau. The results speak for themselves. Our Tableau customers—The World Bank, Broadridge, UNTUCKit, and hundreds of other organizations—have achieved measurable outcomes, including accelerated reporting cycles and the monetization of data and analytics through embedded analytics. The outcomes for Lovelytics were impressive, too—the bet on Tableau helped us achieve near-100% year-over-year growth.
Business intelligence is critical, but over the years, we have learned that success hinges on what happens earlier in the data value chain: collection, storage, processing, etc. At the same time, data volumes are drastically increasing. Hidden within those data are opportunities to improve business metrics, but those outcomes are difficult to realize without investment in all things related to data strategy.
So we knew we had to make another bet, one that lived upstream of business intelligence and would deliver value for our customers today and in the future. We extensively researched all possible solutions, and in the end, one platform stood far above the rest: Databricks.
The Databricks team has a vision—and it delivers
The world is changing rapidly. Every day brings an transformed set of customer needs, along with new technical solutions to provide for those needs. People have difficulty keeping up with the latest, and separating signal from noise. They need allies in the great game of using data to accelerate their businesses, and we have found no better partners than those who work at Databricks.
Across the company—from Databricks’ founders to their account executives and solution architects—we’ve met smart, insightful people who think big (and push us to do the same) about what can be achieved with data, and provide practical guidance on how to advance along the maturity curve. In other words, Databricks isn’t just selling a vision—they’re providing guidance on how to deploy use cases: from streaming data for real-time insights and decision-making to using machine learning to build a recommendation engine.Let’s start at the beginning. Databricks is extremely committed to accelerating time to value, starting with the initial implementation and migration from systems like Snowflake and Hadoop. For example, Databricks and Lovelytics co-developed the Snowflake-to-Databricks Migration Brickbuilder Solution, which features strategic guidance and specialty tools to ensure a rapid, sound migration process.
Databricks’ partnership doesn’t stop once the lakehouse is good to go. Because at that point, it’s time to turn your attention to use cases. We all know that starting from scratch is hard, especially when organizations are being asked to do more with less. Databricks Solutions Accelerators and Databricks Brickbuilder Solutions are designed for this purpose, helping you move from idea to proof of concept to fully productionized use case in just weeks. Here are a few of the solutions that Lovelytics has created.
- Healthcare and Life Sciences: The Lovelytics Health Data Interoperability Brickbuilder automates the ingestion of streaming FHIR bundles into the lakehouse for downstream observational health and patient analytics at scale.
- Communications, Media, and Entertainment:The Lovelytics Sports, Media, and Entertainment Analytics Brickbuilder helps professional sports and other media organizations better utilize streaming data to make near real-time solutions.
One platform that delivers value across the spectrum
We love tackling complex problems in partnership with our clients. However, one of the most avoidable problems relates to technology strategy: clients simply have too many tools, and no idea how they all fit together. This is often caused by silos within an organization—the left hand makes one technology investment while the right hand makes another. As surplus of tools can also be a byproduct of investing in those that only handle small amounts of an organization’s data workflows.
Across our team, we have decades of experience in data and analytics. We know that transformation can only be achieved through a whole-of-ecosystem approach. In other words, no one platform can rule them all. That said, some of the biggest names in the industry have grown their technologies into platforms that legitimately deliver value across multiple domains. At Lovelytics, we pride ourselves on understanding who does what best. We have to know this—our clients demand well-informed and impartial guidance.
Databricks is a platform that delivers value across different types of workloads, such as data processing for data engineering and machine learning. Databricks customers can easily scale their analytics business as the volume of data increases, orchestrate workflows, build predictive models, and productionize pipelines, all with minimal infrastructure management. It’s actually pretty incredible—customers can focus resources where it matters most, and encourage innovation by letting software manage the automatable pieces. This ability to consolidate many tools and functions into a single platform is one of the main reasons we partnered with Databricks.
Why does tool consolidation matter? It’s a good question—here are three reasons:
- Easier to Staff & Maintain. When you have too many tools, hiring and training team members to be experts in each one is nearly impossible. What’s more likely to happen is that the team knows one or two tools really well, and has a more basic understanding of all the others.
- Reduce Costs. There is rarely a scenario when costs go down because there are multiple tools deployed within your environment. By consolidating tools, you can manage costs more easily, negotiate better deals with vendors, and reduce unnecessary overhead. Additionally, the Databricks Lakehouse Platform has been proven to be the most cost-effective, and is more performant than competitors.
- End-to-End Orchestration. A simpler architecture makes it easier to orchestrate. For Databricks specifically, instead of orchestrating your workflows on another tool, you can run your jobs using Databricks. This consolidation means you don’t have to maintain separate tools and a sprawling infrastructure to ensure your pipeline’s success. The result is an improvement in overall efficiency.
Databricks extends into the broader ecosystem
Even though Databricks enables tool consolidation, we know some other best-in-class technologies deserve a place in your data and analytics stack. We partner with several of these technologies: Fivetran, Tableau, and Alteryx. Databricks recognizes the power of these technologies, and makes it easy to extend its platform to the broader ecosystem.For example, Partner Connect makes it easy to find and integrate with other solutions you’re already using. Do you use Tableau? You can connect your Tableau with Databricks. Do you rely on Fivetran? You can integrate Databricks with Fivetran. And, with Delta Sharing, you can share your Databricks Lakehouse data with people who aren’t on the platform.
Databricks excels at building tools in data management, and they integrate with many other technologies to give their customers more ways to easily make the most of their data.
We’re betting our business on Databricks
The data, analytics, and AI landscape is filled to the brim with vendors, all of which are selling you on a vision. As a services and solutions consultancy, we help take on strategy work, partnering with clients to choose the right vision for their business. We also help clients put that vision into practice through full-scale implementation work, use case build-outs, and managed products and services. It’s critical to our business that we only partner with technologies that have a vision, and can reliably deliver on that vision.
Customers trust Lovelytics with their data strategies. That’s why it’s essential that we can trust our partners to provide technology that unlocks outcomes for our customers.
That was the case in 2017 when we staked our firm’s future on Tableau. And that’s the case now with Databricks. We’re confident Databricks is the right bet for our customers and our company.
- Across Databricks, you’ll find visionaries leading customers to the future of data, analytics, and AI and providing guidance and solutions (Accelerators and Brickbuilders) to accelerate time-to-value.
- The Databricks Lakehouse Platform enables organizations to consolidate many tools into one, simplifying staffing needs, reducing costs, and optimizing your end-to-end workflow.
- Databricks integrates with many other data and analytics solutions so clients can easily drive value across the entire data value chain.
As a small firm that delivers big results, we rely on picking the best partners. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Databricks, and about what they can help us do for our clients.
Lovelytics is a data and analytics consultancy. We partner with people, teams, and organizations to deliver services and build solutions that drive outcomes while promoting self-sufficiency through hands-on enablement. At Lovelytics, we work across the entire data lifecycle, including data and analytics strategy, full-scale implementations, data engineering, data visualization, advanced analytics (AI/ML), managed products and services, training, and custom development. Visit us at www.lovelytics.com and contact us at [email protected].