If you are evaluating Snowflake as a possible data cloud platform, you are probably aware of some of the transformative advantages it can bring. If you are just looking for a solution to the many modern challenges a data architecture decision can bring, you are almost certainly considering Snowflake as a serious option.
Snowflake can effectively tackle all of the modern data challenges in a practical and straightforward manner. It can integrate with your business processes rather than forcing you to change them, and successful integration can be delivered incrementally.
We stand by your side on your Snowflake journey, whether you are migrating, creating or curating your data, traditional warehousing, BI reporting or a new AI solution.
Our experts excel at solving data-driven challenges, ensuring your data works for you, not against you.
The Virtual Forge offers a range of services to support you on your Snowflake journey.
We can advise you on the pros and cons of Snowflake for your specific use case. By understanding your long term and short term aims, we can help build up a strategic road map and a business use case.
Our experts can guide you through implementation plans, identifying potential pitfalls and costs. Cloud pricing can be complex, but we break it down to help you understand the actual expenses.
If you're already on your Snowflake journey, our consultants support technical implementation and development, including integration with AWS and Azure services, workload optimisation, and building applications within Snowflake for tasks or tools for your teams.
Snowflake consultants can help map out data workflows for the most efficient results. An historical approach of aggregating everything into a star schema warehouse might be the right thing , but it might not be. A virtualised data lake might be the best tool for you to achieve your ever expanding data needs at a much smaller up-front cost. We can advise and implement this for you - small incremental and demonstrable projects that deliver real value in a robust platform.
So ... what makes Snowflake so powerful?
Snowflake is the industry leading data platform, developed with a cloud-native approach, which allows the separation of storage and compute resources to create real flexibility in the workloads it can handle. No longer are you tied to a single paradigm for both real-time and aggregated data analysis.
With Snowflake, the cost model allows you to offset the more expensive requirement of one use case (rapid minute by minute data) against the lower cost use cases of the other (I need a report on a daily basis!).
Snowflake also allows data virtualisation through its powerful data sharing tools.
This means that data can be accessed across an organisation without ever moving it from ‘where it lives’. No huge ETLs aggregating into a single hard to maintain warehouse, just highly-governed access when and where you need it.
Snowflake's zero-copy cloning enables the creation of a new database instance that shares the original data's storage. This feature is valuable for development, testing, and creating various dataset versions, serving the needs of both traditional and machine-learning workloads.
Snowflake is built with regulated environments in mind: providing robust security features, including encryption at rest and in transit, role-based access control, and auditing capabilities (and don't forget the data virtualisation: you control who sees what and when!)
Snowflake doesn't seek to be all things to all people. Its huge number of data integrations allows it to plug into all sorts of data sources and tools, which means that you can leverage your existing tools, or migrate piece by piece. You are not linked into a single ecosystem, but can deploy on AWS, or Azure and consume almost any data source, as well as reporting using Tableau, Power BI, Looker or any of the most common reporting tools, including your own custom builds.
Robust streams and tasks enable application-level integration and workflows that connect with your ERP systems, CRM system, or custom actions in the CPU in response to data changes or inputs. This means that with Snowflake your data platform can drive your business instead of just reflecting it.
And with the recent acquisition of Neeva, Snowflake can now accelerate search in the Data Cloud through generative AI, allowing you to build applications “talk to your data “. At the Virtual Forge we have been working with machine learning and AI for many years and can advise and show you the real value and challenges of this area.
Working with Fortune 500 companies for more than a decade, we have developed a comprehensive data methodology.
Our consulting services aid visionary leaders in their pursuit of gaining a competitive edge for their companies and enhancing operational efficiencies by leveraging the potential of their data.
Similar to today’s world, a software development and data process is not an immutable force. It changes. It develops. It grows. At The Virtual Forge, we have an agile mindset that makes us capable of adapting to unforeseen circumstances.
Our team comprises seasoned professionals from diverse backgrounds, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise.
A team of creative and analytical minds leverages cutting-edge technologies and out-of-the-box thinking to deliver innovative software solutions. We’re always on the lookout for new technologies that can leverage our offer, helping our clients materialize their needs into new systems that streamline their business processes.
Embracing challenges is acknowledged by our experts as a common part of any custom software development and data journey. With unwavering persistence and confidence in our capabilities, we tackle every obstacle head-on. You can rely on us to persevere until we find effective solutions, ensuring successful outcomes for your project.
Quality is our core focus. Our team ensures high standards through rigorous quality assurance processes, thorough testing, code reviews, and continuous improvement.
Our track record is a testament to our reliability. Always by our client’s side, ensuring that nothing is left to chance. With our commitment to excellence, we pride ourselves on delivering dependable solutions that businesses can trust.
We believe in up front engagement and guidance for you as the client: what are your problems and how can we solve them?
Snowflake is a marvelous platform to develop on and deliver, but it is the shared goals and common understanding that make the projects a success. Above all, The Virtual Forge takes pride in prioritising effective communication.
From the initial engagement we will be very focused on defining what your problems are, fully understanding your blockers.
After agreeing on the problem statement, we'll propose one or more solution options presented in business-friendly language, backed by rigorous technical support. Our aim is to ensure alignment between the business and technical aspects throughout the delivery process.
Our work process all revolves around engagement in a transparent way, working through the agreed deliverables with regular conversations, both technical and governance focussed. Even on a small incremental project, it is vital to success that gaps do not develop between client perception and The Virtual Forge delivery.
We have the capability to deliver the best visualization solution for your technology setting. With our proficiency in various visualization tools such as Tableau, Power BI, Qlik, or QuickSight, we can work within various technological ecosystems and provide the professional assurance you require from your data partner.
Our approach is pragmatic. Our goal is the delivery of accurate and effective data dashboards that will integrate seamlessly into your existing operations and help reduce the cost often associated with the effort behind the manual production of traditional BI solutions.
Snowflake is designed to accommodate your familiarity with the tools and languages you already know.
Our Snowflake consulting services offer the flexibility for teams to take over and manage what we've developed, or we can collaborate on development. Additionally, we provide end-to-end development and support as a managed service.
Our extensive knowledge in the manufacturing sector makes us a trustworthy partner for data-driven digital solutions.
The Virtual Forge team has more than 20 years experience developing custom solutions for Life Sciences clients.
We are experts in designing and developing data-driven custom software solutions for global brands in the automotive industry.
We can leverage our financial expertise to the most in-demand financial software. Our extensive range of customised financial solutions is specifically tailored to address the distinctive challenges faced by your business and sector.
The Virtual Forge is a trusted supplier of data-driven software solutions to Government and the Public Sector.
The time required to execute an AI project can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the problem, the availability and quality of data, the scope of the project, and the specific requirements. Some AI projects can be completed in a matter of weeks, while others may take several months or longer. It is crucial to thoroughly analyse the project requirements, assess the data availability, and develop a comprehensive project plan to estimate the timeline accurately.
If you are facing challenges that involve processing large amounts of data, identifying complex patterns, making predictions, automating tasks, or improving decision-making based on data-driven insights, AI may be a suitable solution. Consulting with our experts can help assess your specific problem and determine if AI is the right approach to address it effectively.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that can perform tasks, learn, and make decisions. Machine Learning (ML) is a subset of AI that focuses on enabling machines to learn and improve from data without being explicitly programmed.
This can admittedly be a tough sell, and a barrier to adoption - no matter how you try to meet the needs of your entire user base, there are some who prefer their own self-directed analysis, typically based on large Excel-like tables. The good news is that, to some degree, all modern BI platforms support the generation of CSV or Excel-based extracts, up to and including the entire data model. In that sense, BI platforms allow users to continue exploration beyond the page’s visuals so no one is, in effect, left out.
Choosing a BI platform can be difficult, since on the surface, they all achieve the same outcome.
That said, your technology stack and data ecosystem will play a significant role in your choice. If, for instance, you are a 100% Microsoft business, we’d likely recommend Power BI. If you have a large Salesforce.com user base, we’d suggest Tableau CRM.
Often enough though, enterprises cross multiple systems and methods for capturing and storing data, so the choice often comes down to which platform is the most appealing, both in terms of visual output and capabilities, and price. At The Virtual Forge, we tend to stay platform-agnostic when entering a new situation in order to find the best fit that meets the majority of your needs.
Typically, most BI platforms offer some sort of trial period to “test drive” the tool. Some, like Power BI, allow you to create and publish dashboards and reports without any additional licensing, though at some point, in order to be able to easily share and collaborate, licensing will definitely be required. Once you’ve reached that point, the level of licensing will vary depending on the size of your intended audience, as well as platform-specific considerations.
In general, the answer is almost always “yes”, though to what extent varies by situation.
There’s always some degree of cleansing and preparation, though the scope of that effort depends on the maturity of the data in question, and the means by which it is accessed.
If, for instance, you have an established data warehouse, consuming data from multiple sources in a central location, it’s very likely that little to no preparation is necessary.
By contrast, if the sources are Excel-based and touched by many hands in the chain of control, or derived from web-based sources, then it’s very likely to require anomaly detection and resolution, and a high-degree of shaping to fit the ideal reporting data model.
While a data warehouse should be considered an integral part of any enterprise-wide analytics solution, it’s not necessarily a pre-requisite to be up and running on most BI platforms.
Modern BI solutions, to varying degrees depending on the platform, have incorporated at least some level of data pipelines, transformations, and cleansing, functions typically carried out in the traditional warehouse.
While the data warehouse is the more complete solution, these platforms are designed to get you started exploring your data quickly, which is great news for smaller businesses or teams where a full-blown warehouse isn’t financially feasible.
A dashboard is a user-friendly interface that displays critical information and data in a visual format (bar graphs, pie charts, heat maps, scatter plots, etc.). The purpose of a dashboard is to provide quick and easy access to key metrics, data, and insights that help inform decision-making and drive business performance. Dashboards can be designed to display a wide range of data from multiple sources, including real-time updates, historical trends, and predictive analytics.
Data Dashboards become essential by providing real-time insights, improve communication, increase productivity, and enable data-driven decision-making. They can be customised to meet the specific needs of your business, providing a single source of truth for decision making.
By linking dashboards to particular metrics or KPIs, you gain critical business intelligence and the capability to delve into specific pieces of information, enabling you to continuously track your progress.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question - it depends on the maturity of the data in question, and the means by which it is accessed. If, for instance, you have an established data warehouse, consuming data from multiple sources in a central location, it's very likely that little to no data preparation is necessary. By contrast, if the data sources used are Excel-based and touched by many hands in the chain of control, or derived from web-based sources, then it's very likely to require anomaly detection and resolution, and a high-degree of shaping to fit the ideal reporting data model.
Put simply, a Power BI consultant is an expert in the field with a situation-dependent, malleable role. Through years of experience on the data platform side, a Power BI consultant has acquired the knowledge to fulfill many roles: data modeler, visual designer, advisor, and trainer. Above all, a Power BI specialist has learned to listen to you, and to assume the role that best meets your needs.
Whether you're just starting out in Power BI, encountered a seemingly intractable problem, or simply need an expert to review your implementation, , and data models, Power BI experts and consulting services exist to help you meet your unique needs efficiently and with minimal investment in time and manpower.
Fabric is the latest innovation from Microsoft, with the aim of establishing an all-in-one, tightly integrated analytics platform. It encompasses ETL pipelines, data warehousing, AI capabilities, and visualisation via Power BI in a single scalable package.
Working with The Virtual Forge was a pleasure. The relationships that we build, quite quickly, led to a really lovely experience. The whole team was highly efficient, creative and tactical.
Working with The Virtual Forge made everyone enjoy being part of the project. It never felt like two separate teams, but just one big team. Everything felt natural, easy, even when there were challenges.
The Virtual Forge collaborates with several strategic partners to guarantee the delivery of cutting-edge services that meet and exceed clients' expectations. We are trusted by some of the most recognised technological brands in the world.
Snowflake positions itself as the optimal solution for organisations prioritising secure and scalable cloud data management. The security features of the Snowflake Cloud Data Platform, including encryption, access controls, and data masking, play a crucial role in safeguarding sensitive information during the digital revolution.
We begin a 3 part series where we’ll explore how to use low code development platforms together to create an image classifier that can determine if an image contains a man, a woman, or a monkey wearing a business suit, a Kung Fu uniform or casual wear (e.g., jeans & sneakers).
Companies have begun implementing low-code development and citizen development approaches to meet their demand for innovative software solutions. Low-code/no-code development platforms have gained a large adoption in recent years. But do you understand the reasons why?