While doing some routine data analysis your mind wanders a bit and you think, “what if we looked into this data to see what would happen if we introduced information x to the mix”? As a plan to check it out forms in your mind you remember that meeting last week where IT said that due to the increase in business activities some analysis would have to be scaled back to just what was necessary to run the business reports.
Okay, you think, that is fair we need to keep the business moving. But this idea really nags at you and you keep thinking if you could just run a couple simulations maybe it would give the company the edge on the next product line.
The question is how do you do the analysis without using valuable company computing space and without having to resort to a cumbersome spreadsheet. Since you keep up with the tech news you have heard of a little item called Data Science and Data Sandbox. Even though this would work, you don’t want to go to the boss unless you have something a little more concrete than just a good idea. What do you do?
Time to do a little more research and see what you can find out about Data Science and Data Sandboxes. During your search, you learn that Data Science teams explore and obtain sandbox platforms from data marts. Okay, you think that answers part of the question but what exactly a Data Sandbox?
Digging a little more you find out that a Data Sandbox is a non-operational environment where the analyst can model and manipulate data so that what-if scenarios can be investigated. Well, that sounds like what you have been thinking about. But do you have enough information to go to the boss with your idea? Maybe not, the boss would really like to hear something specific that isn’t going to upset IT and really mess with the company’s information or cost a ton of money.
So you read a few more articles and find out that a data sandbox is a safe place for users to “play” with the data inside the company’s existing data management system. The sandbox is a secure area where only a copy of the company’s data is located and not stored.
What the sandbox actually does is take the place of an excel spreadsheet. The information can be shared with different users and then discarded or kept depending on the result. This is sounding better all the time, but there is a little more information you need to know before you try to sell this to the boss.
In your research, you found out that some of the biggest names in the business are using sandboxes and they include eBay, Amazon, and Google. Also, sandboxes can be constructed in data warehouses or outside of them as stand-alone data marts. Cost depends on use and other features and it would take just a little more research to find the best fit for the company. This should give the boss a good amount of information to at least get him or her to start thinking about looking into a data sandbox. Time to compile the information into a good presentation and take the next step.
Well, looks like you have your ducks in a row, well, at least moving in the right direction. Time to visit the boss and present your ideas. But now you’ll be ready when she or he looks at you with a blank stare and asks, “what the heck you are talking about, we are here to work not play in a sandbox, besides a sandbox is for kids anyway”. You can proudly answer that a sandbox certainly does have a place in today’s corporate environment and playing in them could actually help the company in the long run.