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  • Scott Fallen

Beginning a new journey with Switchboard

I am excited to announce that this week marks a new page in my career both in the world of data and as a Sales Engineer. I have joined the team at Switchboard as their first SE. This move represents a return to my startup roots, as Switchboard is an innovative young company that’s growing rapidly. I am thrilled to be back to building from the very beginning of something great like I found myself doing when I joined the team at SQL Sentry back in 2010.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably interested in what Switchboard does, so here’s the ten thousand foot view: Switchboard helps business owners make data-based decisions without bothering the data-science team.

“Cool elevator pitch, Scott, but what does that mean to me and my company?” I’m glad you asked! You’re a member of a business that provides a service, sells one or more things, or both, and in order to do all that, you deal with an ever-growing tide of data. That data comes from marketing and advertising sources like Google Ad Manager, Facebook, TikTok, and so forth, it comes from your CRM and/or point of sale systems, it comes from your customers’ interactions on your website, it comes to you as emails, as spreadsheets, as CSVs and the format and timing of every source is different. Data is important and valuable, we all know that we need to keep it and make it usable, but how?

Do we take the easy way from a Data Engineering standpoint and just send it all, as it comes to us, into a “Data Lake?” I think “Data Dumpster” might be a more honest label in some cases. I saw this quite a bit both at SentryOne and Couchbase, and in both cases the issue that brought me in was a business-critical system that was having performance problems and not meeting the needs of the end users. Some of those problems were able to be solved with a different database behind the data or by better performance monitoring, but neither could ever hope to fix a problem of disorganized and unstructured data from disparate sources. Making bad data faster to access doesn’t enable making good decisions!

How do we turn our big pile o’ data into something organized, timely, relevant, and actionable? We could certainly task our Data Engineers with building and maintaining a complex ETL pipeline and data warehouse. I saw SQL Server DBAs struggling with broken and hard to maintain SSIS packages for the entire time I was at SentryOne. We had some great solutions to provide them more observability and alerting for those issues, but there was still at least one, and sometimes a team of data professionals that were tasked with the ongoing care and feeding of all of those pipelines.

That comes at a big cost: not only are our Data Engineers an expensive and hard to hire resource, but is this kind of project really going to be the most effective use of their time? Would the business be better served if rather than tasking the Data Engineering team with the project, there was a quick to implement and fully-managed way of seamlessly integrating all of that data into a unified Data Warehouse that’s ready to be used for analytics by the business?

That’s where Switchboard comes in! If you’d like to learn more, check out a few customer case studies HERE and feel free to ping me if you have questions or want to schedule a time to talk with us!

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