Part of the appeal of an antique is how distinct it is. It has character precisely because it is so niche. Anybody who has ever been into an antique shop knows it is almost certainly cluttered. For objects, there is simply no better way to do it.
But imagine you owned a curio shop and instead of cramming everything into a dim, stuffy space, you could have any item for sale on-hand, readily accessible to any customer that wanted to interact with it. Imagine the tchotchkes you sold would be kept in an ideal environment and you knew commonalities between them at the snap of a finger. Imagine the size of the storage where they were kept was perfectly sized to your inventory.
If something is delicate and unique, we call it a snowflake. Your business’ needs are unique, so it makes little sense to pay for something you don’t need. Snowflake obviates the need for hardware to process the huge amount of data your company needs to understand. The software, which works synergistically with Salesforce’s out-of-the-box connector, Tableau, scales with your company needs without security worries.
Just as in our antique example above, businesses need quick and easy access to information. The information is likely data about customers. Further, they need to be able to make sense of that data in a variety of ways.
Let’s say you own a rental car company and need to get insight into the identity and behavior of your customers — their age, their sex, how far they drove, how many days they had the car for, what kind of car they rented and so forth. Once a data engineer knew how big the file needed to be, and how long they needed to access the data, our engineer would be able to select options toward that end in Snowflake and only pay for what the company used.
A big benefit of Snowflake is that it automatically handles indexing and partitioning, i.e., dividing data into separate data stores, saving time and effort.
Additionally, let’s say the senior marketing manager needed to access the same data as our engineer, only she wants to know how the rental car company can rent more sedans and establish whether different locations rent out more sedans than others. Our marketer would be able to make use of the same data in a different way without interfering with our engineer’s work. Again, our marketer selects the workload she needs, only paying for what she uses. This feature allows our marketer and engineer to work collaboratively toward a common goal.
Snowflake loads structured and semi-structured data in a snap and allows our marketer to use data as it loads instead of waiting like she would have to do on other platforms. The software will auto resume next time either the engineer or marketer access the data, alleviating the need to set up the data a second time.
While you may be using Salesforce CRM to gather data, at some point you will analyze that data. Once the data has transformed, the data may grow exponentially. In this case, you don’t want Salesforce bogged down with all that data. Since Salesforce assumes you are using your data — not just storing it — it isn’t designed to host massive logs of data. You don’t want to have to wade through tons of archived data to find what you need.
Snowflake can help here too. After you’ve gotten the analysis you need, if the dataset is large, you may want to archive it for later use. Snowflake is a cheaper cloud-based data storage. There is no need to waste company money storing data that isn’t being used but the company still wants to retain. Think of it like renting a storage unit instead of an apartment for your record collection.
B2C companies typically have large datasets, because they deal with millions of customers nationwide. So, they benefit the most from using Snowflake. Storing customer data in Snowflake and transferring the relevant information to Salesforce when you want to use it is smart. Maybe you want to create a customer journey. In that case, since Snowflake doesn’t have a usable interface, you would need to transfer data from Snowflake to Salesforce to tinker with it in a way that achieves the desired outcome.
But since different teams need access to different datasets for different reasons, you need the right people to have the right data anytime. Having that data in an easy-to-access and easy-to-import place is essential. Understanding how you plan to use data will go a long way toward helping determine your company’s needs. Perhaps you only need storage. Maybe your datasets aren’t unwieldy enough to justify cloud-based storage. An experienced partner can help you ensure you’re getting only — and paying only for — what you need.
The size of your collection of data, why it needs to be brought to Salesforce and for what reason are essential questions for any partner. Do you need your data for marketing? Do you need to edit it? Do you need reporting? And, if you do, do you intend on transferring the data back to Snowflake for archiving or is the data “active”?
The essence of Snowflake is simple: it is a storage space to hold data until you want to interact with it. But, just because Snowflake itself is a simple concept, doesn’t mean it isn’t multifaceted in its use. Because it is such a generic concept, the list of unique uses for the software is limited by little more than your imagination.
If you suspect your company could benefit from Snowflake, contact our team. Let us show you how Snowflake can bolster Salesforce. Don’t rent an apartment for your record collection.