Database professionals need training, budgetary investment and leadership buy-in to be fully successful.
A shift is underway in database management. The rise of hybrid IT and adoption of cloud-native apps has evolved database design, management and monitoring as we know it. As a result, federal agencies are increasingly acknowledging the importance of DataOps to ensure a better use of their data, which is their most valuable asset.
What Is DataOps?
DataOps is a transformative approach to managing the increased complexity of modern data estates. With DataOps, agencies can break down the silos limiting data sharing and insights across organizations—a key pillar of the Federal Data Strategy 2021 Action Plan—streamline data management tasks, reduce human error through automation and ensure data protection.
Despite these benefits, according to the new SolarWinds® Query Report: Database Priorities and Pitfalls, implementation of DataOps in government is hindered by a lack of training, budget and buy-in from senior leaders.
Let’s explore these roadblocks further and discuss how federal agencies can overcome each one.
A Lack of Training
Database architectures and operations are becoming increasingly complex and time-consuming to manage. The SolarWinds report finds database professionals spend over a third of their day on database maintenance, leaving little time to invest in upskilling. Indeed, 44% of them cite a lack of proper training, education and tooling as barriers to implementing DataOps.
It’s no secret keeping database management running smoothly requires daily maintenance. One of the best ways to work smarter and drive down time spent on this task is to integrate technology capable of doing daily maintenance for you.
Automation and monitoring tools, for instance, can improve overall database performance and eventually lead to reduced costs. Instead of tech pros spending hours trying to identify, diagnose and fix hard-to-find performance issues, modern monitoring tools run in the background, automatically identifying performance issues and recommending optimization fixes. Additionally, they free up tech pros to invest more time in proactive database performance management, upskilling and innovation.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 44% of the survey respondents said a lack of resources and budget is a significant roadblock to DataOps implementation. Even so, managing database platforms is a big and costly undertaking, and driving these costs down is a priority for 45% of the respondents.
However, a focus on efficiency requires an investment in tools such as performance monitoring or data analytics. Yet these are much lower down the list of priorities (22%) and received a flat budget allocation compared to 2020 (as reported by 58% of respondents).
To confidently manage modern database environments and realize the potential of DataOps, investment is clearly needed. Fortunately, a simple cost-benefit analysis can be the proof point DBAs need to make a case for moving automated database management—which 44% view as a priority—to the top of their manager’s priority list. Which leads to the final hurdle to DataOps…
Gaining Buy-In From Senior Leaders
Modernizing legacy approaches to data management strategies, particularly in siloed federal agencies, requires executive buy-in. However, 33% of those surveyed state winning leaders over to the merits of DataOps isn’t easy.
To secure the investment and training tech pros need, they must educate decision-makers and government leaders on the positive impact DataOps can have, both in terms of cost-benefit and accelerated data delivery.
In parallel, agencies should consider pursuing proof of concept or pilot projects capable of quickly demonstrating the value of DataOps, through increased efficiencies and productivity, faster access to actionable business intelligence and lower costs. Armed with these positive results, project sponsors can then advocate for and evangelize DataOps projects across the agency and define the roles and reskilling needed to support them.
Giving Data Pros the Tools They Need for DataOps Success
Government agencies have arrived at a critical inflection point in database management. Tech pros already have their eye on DataOps, a transformative strategy capable of equipping DBAs and database managers to do more than reactive database maintenance. Still, education, investment and support are needed to make this shift a reality and give data pros the tools they need for DataOps success.