Is a good data architect expensive?

Sometimes, trying to save money on the salary of the people building your foundational data architecture can have repercussions that are a lot more costly than the money you “save” by going cheap.

If you believe in delivering value early to the business and getting quick feedback, you need a data architect who can also code along with the development team. A data architect with those skills also has a much better perspective of the global picture and technologies. This will ultimately require fewer cycles to deliver what is right for your business scenario. Data architects who know how to code will likely be slightly more expensive because they can deliver a solution from A to Z. They can also get started on day 1, by themself, while they help you building the team. In short: leveraging their experience is guaranteed to get the solution to the most valuable place using fewer development cycles.

Data warehousing is complex, and the marketplace is crowded with vendors from the past, and many challengers of more recent origin. The large number of tools available makes it very difficult to pick what is right for your business. An experienced data architect will have explored those choices before and can help you find the most efficient path to happy end-users who can quickly start adding value to the corporate bottom-line by making better decisions. A good data architect will also have an informed opinion of the past (where data warehousing is coming from) and a vision of the p resent and future of data warehousing. He will be able to merge proven classic ideas with new NoSQL, Big Data, Open Source, and cloud technology ideas, to achieve the best outcome for your projects.

A good data architect builds a solution that is sustainable and can evolve gracefully. This, in itself, is a big part of the huge cost savings and the main driver of your team’s reputation. What is the value of being able to deliver a change or new features to your end-users in a matter of hours versus weeks or months? This is difficult to monetize, but will make or break your reputation. The changes will require less (no) rework and they will flow nicely into the existing architecture. A data architecture is something that evolves. It is not something you should have to scrap and rebuild every year.

A good data architect will share his knowledge with the rest of the team by coding the right things, in the right way, and explaining what we are doing and why we do it. He will also listen and absorb the knowledge floating around in the team and make good use of it. With a good data architect the whole team has a chance to get better and deliver more valuable solutions. A team led by a good data architect will also do a lot more by themselves; they will not need to hire expensive consultants that wind up walking out the door with your valuable business knowledge.

Finally, a good data architect will be a master at communicating with end-users, helping them define the most valuable things we can do now, and quickly determine an express how feasible they are. He will not hide behind business analysts and work on requirements that came through the “telephone game”, causing errors and further delays. He will promptly help the end-users prototyping ideas and find the most feasible solutions for specific business problems. Reducing the number of cycles in here is a huge money saver – your dollar can hardly go any further anywhere else.

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Written on November 3, 2016