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Why Hadoop Data Architects Must Be Salespeople

May 19, 2016

Data architects are expected to create the blueprint for data management. Their world typically revolves around technology—selecting, integrating, and implementing—as well as careful considerations for governance and security. Increasingly, that technology repertoire has included Hadoop, which delivers greater data storage with increased flexibility, offering their business the ability to connect the dots between complex data sources.

On the flip side, business units live in a world of insights. They may understand some of the nuances of technologies like Hadoop, but just aren’t invested as an IT organization. Which makes sense—business units need results, and the technology used to achieve those results is secondary. There has always been a distinct separation between the data architect and the business.

Yet, in order to be successful, data architects must be connected with the business in order to ensure adoption among technologies like Hadoop. Data architects need to demonstrate to the business that their goals are aligned, proving that the technologies they’ve chosen will offer the biggest impact for the organization. The secret? Thinking like a salesperson. No, we’re not suggesting data architects go full Alec Baldwin, but they’ll see increased Hadoop adoption if they approach business units more like customers, with the intent to sell them on IT expertise and the impact they’ll see. Below, we outlined some of the key consideration on what to sell and how to sell it.

Self-Service is Key
In today’s world, you’ll see little Hadoop adoption without the right applications to go along with it. It’s critical to establish a modern IT/business partnership built upon self-service technologies, such as Trifacta. Trifacta’s wrangling capabilities make it easy for business users to access the data they need while maintaining governance standards for IT.  

Take one of customers, for example, one of the biggest healthcare companies in the nation. After a lengthy 2½ year Hadoop implementation process, they weren’t seeing adoption from the organization. A large investment, but little return. So, IT spoke directly to business units with varying objectives—marketing, healthcare, security, HR—and assessed their data needs. It was clear that business units had initiatives they wanted to accomplish, but just weren’t able to execute. Business users were unable to gain access to the data they needed since it was gated behind highly-technical IT users. It wasn’t until IT sold self-service data preparation to the business that adoption finally began. The morale of this story: engage the business users early on, sell the benefits of data preparation tools.

How to Sell a Self-Service Data Preparation Technology
Upon realizing the need for a self-service data preparation technology, how can data architects successfully sell it to the business? We’ve seen customers do it countless times, and here are the top three tips:

  • Get the business involved early on.
    Don’t wait until you’ve implemented a self-service data preparation technology. In fact, don’t even wait until you’ve purchased one—bring the business in early on so they understand what you’re evaluating, and the potential that it will have on their work. This will help build their excitement and give them time to plan for using the tool.
  • Find an initiative and business champion.
    Not only do many hands make light work, but enlisting a business unit champion will smooth roadblocks down the road. They should be the point-of-contact on the first planned initiative, increasing visibility and urgency to increase its likelihood of success.
  • Be patient and help the business with necessary onboarding.
    Even easy-to-use data preparation tools will require a little training. Spending the time (and money) on necessary onboarding will go a long way in its adoption.

Pro-tip: Your Outside Technology Salesperson Is Your Ally
Of course, data architects aren’t natural salespeople—so why not leverage the ones they have at their disposal? Data architects should allow their own technology rep to demonstrate the benefits of the new technologies (that is their job, after all). Data architects should be sure to introduce their salesperson to the business units early on and let them answer all the questions that come up—otherwise, they’ll have to.

Being a Salesperson Pays Off
Thinking like a salesperson and adopting these strategies can help you ensure that the entire organization will reap all of the benefits of new data management platforms like Hadoop. Selling the benefits of self-service data preparation tools such as Trifacta will foster adoption by allowing non-technical users to access new and more complex data in the big data ecosystem independently, without sacrificing accuracy, security, or existing data governance policies.

To learn more about Trifacta’s self-service data preparation solution, sign up for the free Trifacta Wrangler, today!