Data Architect? Do We Really Need One of Those?

Morgan Duckworth  |  Senior Data Architect, Data Strategy Group | Connect with Morgan on LinkedIn

There has been a lot of talk from us lately about data:  Do you have a data strategy?  Are you a data-driven organization?  Are you monetizing your data?  Keller Schroeder’s Data Strategy Group helps clients along the journey to answer “Yes!” to these questions.

Today I want to talk about one of the key roles you’ll need on your journey: the Data Architect.  Here are some questions I field quite often about my role as a Data Architect…

  • What is a Data Architect?
  • Aren’t relational databases and data warehouses with high storage costs antiquated, making the Data Architect a dying breed?
  • Can’t we just throw all of this data in a data lake and be done with it?

I’ll answer the last two questions quickly:  NO and NO.

Relational databases and data warehouses are here to stay.  The volume of data organizations generate each year is rapidly increasing, and a growing number of external data sources are being used, all of which must be linked together in a meaningful way.  Systems and processes need data faster at a higher volume, and a solid data architecture is required to make all of this possible.  Thus, the Data Architect is more essential than ever.

Regarding data lakes, whereas these technologies handle high volumes of raw data files and unstructured data (social media data, sensor data from IoT devices, etc.) in the most cost-effective manner possible, the data warehouse continues to be essential, pulling together data from many different sources into a structured, highly-accessible format used for reporting and operational decision-making.  So actually, data lakes and data warehouses complement each other very well.

Now, back to the first question, what is a Data Architect?  A Data Architect creates blueprints for data management systems, helping companies store, manage, secure, and retrieve their data.  Data Architects must be proactive, ensuring that data can be accessed quickly, reliably, and securely for their organization.  Most are experts in Data Lifecycle Management, Data Governance, Data Quality, Data Migration, and Data Integration.  Some job responsibilities may include:

  • Design and implement database and data warehouse components to enable best-in-class Data Lifecycle Management processes,
  • Analyze functional and non-functional business requirements and translate into technical data requirements,
  • Create and maintain logical and physical data models to support long-term solutions for the business areas and systems,
  • Create and enforce Data Architecture and modeling standards and best practices,
  • Produce and manage data flow mapping, and
  • Analyze existing database queries and provide performance tuning recommendations.

Being a Data Architect means solving problems at both the micro and macro levels.  They focus to assure the integrity of even the smallest piece of data, all the while thinking strategically about business, data, and process challenges in an enterprise environment.  Above all, a Data Architect must be passionate about data and the value it brings to the organization.

Keller Schroeder’s Data Strategy Group offers an experienced, well-rounded team of professionals who are eager to make your data dreams come true.  And hopefully now we can all agree that the Data Architect is vital to your successful data journey.  If your organization has Data Architects, take them out for a cup of coffee or give them all a socially distanced high five!  If not, no worries, we have you covered.  Contact us today to learn more about the top-notch Data Architects available at Keller Schroeder.

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