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A Snowflake Proof of Concept that sets you up for success

A Snowflake Proof of Concept that sets you up for success

Reduce Costs with Snowflake Software Asset Management: Save Millions by Optimizing SaaS Licenses. Learn more by reading this article by Milan Mosny.

Cut your company's expenses with simple software asset management on Snowflake.

TL;DR

In this climate, getting approval for a new project exploring newer technologies, such as Snowflake, is difficult. Getting support for a simple tactical Proof of Concept (PoC) that lowers business expenses by a non-trivial amount could be a way to go. A PoC such as the one described here may work.

Use Snowflake to identify unused or underutilized SaaS licenses, such as Google Workspace, MS Office, WorkDay, ServiceNow, Jira, and Confluence, and de-provision them or negotiate cheaper licenses based on lower usage. Potential savings for an organization of a good size could be millions per year.

 

Introduction

Sales are down, budgets are cut, people are being let go, and new work is tougher and tougher to come by. Data teams are not spared. Everybody seems to be tightening their belts and focusing on the essentials.

At the same time, we want to move toward data cloud platforms such as Snowflake and the latest flavor of Modern Data Stack, which lets us do data better and faster. The usual way to get a project approval in the past was to sell grand visions of a data-driven future.

However, in this climate, this does not work. Getting approval for a new project and exploring new technologies is challenging. How do you move forward?

 

A Way Forward

It's much easier (and it usually makes much more sense) to focus on the tactical execution of projects that cut costs or have a direct (and very quick) impact on revenue.

This is where a simple PoC, such as modern software asset management, can help. For a larger organization, user SaaS licenses for productivity and line-of-business tools could be a considerable expense. All the Google Workspaces, MS Offices, WorkDays, ServiceNows, Jiras, Confluences, Lucid Charts, Salesforces, and SAPs cost a pretty penny. A mid-size enterprise with 1000 knowledge workers, each using ~10 tools @ $25/month, spends ~$3 million annually. According to the 2023 State of ITAM Report, nearly one-third of SaaS licenses purchased by organizations go underutilized or wasted. This represents a potential saving of ~ $1 million. Snowflake has developed an in-house SAM solution (Snowflake on Snowflake, aka Snowpatrol), saving the organization $5.5 million in its first year of adoption. More importantly, Snowflake did it without impacting user satisfaction.

 

What Does It Take?

The good news is that doing this is not a huge endeavor and can fit easily within a Snowflake PoC project. One way to do this is to build a simple data solution that reads the user and application data and sign-in logs from your SSO provider (assuming that a good portion of applications are using it), transform it lightly, and then visualize which users are not using their apps. We are discussing 2–3 elementary entities, 1–2 activities, and a few metrics. The result could be a dashboard such as this:

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Depending on how deep (as opposed to just quick and dirty) you would like to go with your PoC, you may end up not just with a solution that could save millions of dollars on licenses but also with a proper data solution architecture that includes extraction infrastructure, a suitable approach to data modeling on your brand new cloud data platform, good security and disaster recovery posture, orchestration, version control, CI/CD and a touch of observability.

If you are willing to go further, the solution is easy to extend with a simple AI/ML model that predicts which users will not use their expensive apps. The AI/ML model will do it better and faster than you can by looking at a usage dashboard. By doing this, you may end up with a solution that supports data analytics, data science, and AI/ML with a dash of MLOps. Even without AI/ML, the PoC is likely to save big.

You can still move towards your strategic goals, but be very tactical about it. You can have the best of both worlds. In other words, you can have a cake and eat it too.

There is more good news. Snowflake was kind enough to make its AI/ML solution available to partners like Infostrux. We brought it to our clients with our intellectual property around data architecture, modeling, version control, CI/CD, essential security and RBAC setup, and orchestration without charging license fees. (We still do like to be paid for the direct work that we do.) Depending on your situation and requirements, we can have you up and running in a few weeks.

Explore more about our approach to Modern Software Asset Management on this page.

 

Conclusion

Finding a tactical and impactful PoC that will let you explore new technologies and move your team forward simultaneously is possible. The trick is to find something that has a direct business impact and is not difficult to do. Snowflake-based software asset management is just one of many examples.

Thank you for reading to the end. I hope you enjoyed the blog. Any feedback is welcome — please leave a comment!

I’m Milan Mosny, CTO at Infostrux Solutions. You can follow me here on Infostrux Medium Blog or LinkedIn. I write about Snowflake, data engineering, architecture, and occasionally about other topics dear to my heart.