Determining Data Platform Value: Leveraging the asset of an expert community

As discussed in the previous blog in this series, an Ernst and Young study, CFO-CIO: a growing collaboration, finds that “To succeed, organizations must make bold technology investment decisions that are driven by corporate strategy.” To achieve this goal, CIOs and CFOs need to work together with business leadership to ensure that, beyond cost effectiveness, IT purchasing decisions such choosing as a data platform are based on meeting strategic business objectives. Once the team understands strategic goals, they can evaluate a data platform based on a combination of positive Total Economic Impact (TEI) and built-in cost-effective mission-critical capabilities.

As part of this evaluation, the CFO and CIO examine the prospective data platform. They need to look at the technology’s contributions to day-to-day efficiency in IT and the opportunities that the platform offers to provide strategic value to the business. One asset they can call on during this process is the engaged and expert community that has developed around the Microsoft data platform. Members of this community are a valuable resource for gathering input on how Microsoft’s data platform performs in the real world.

In an informal poll of a random selection prominent data platform experts, we asked for their opinions about the value proposition of SQL Server and the Microsoft platform. In combination with an assessment such as the Forrester TEI framework, such comments help by providing perspective for anyone performing an evaluation of a strategic data platform. Here’s what the experts had to say:

Andy Leonard of Andy Leonard Consulting, noted speaker and author:

“I believe Microsoft SQL Server and the Microsoft suite of hosted data services and solutions offer tremendous value to customers. SQL Server and Azure highlight something Microsoft has always done well—integration. The ease with which developers can access on-premises and cloud data, combined with the similarity of the user experience [across products], further combined with the total cost of ownership, make for a compelling data strategy. Throw in Microsoft’s engagement with the SQL Server community (MVP Program, sponsorship of the Professional Association for SQL Server, Microsoft Partners, etc.) and you have a recipe for success that keeps delivering value.

Douglas McDowell, CEO, North America, SolidQ Consulting, Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP), and noted speaker and writer:

“Firstly, SQL Server does as much as or more than Oracle or IBM, but it just costs a lot less. I am not just talking about feature comparison and licensing. I mean all-up total cost of ownership (TCO), how much the hardware or virtual environment costs (acquisition, operation), dependability, and especially the cost of the skilled personnel required to develop and operate it. And platform migrations (re-platforming) from another platform to SQL Server are now very smooth and cost-effective processes.”

John Sterrett, Group Principal, Linchpin People consulting (see John’s blog here):

“Cost, simplicity and built in tools. When I was at [a major server hardware company], we were moving over databases like crazy from Oracle to SQL Server. SQL Server ease of use allows customers to have a higher ratio of instances and databases managed by less people. I have known DBAs that would make sure they had SQL Server license so they could use [SQL Server Integration Services] SSIS and [SQL Server Reporting services] SSRS because they are much easier than built-in tools for Oracle.”

Stephen Wynkoop, MVP, founder of

“The cloud-functionality that I think is really going to help pull people forward is the hybrid hosting – where you have on-premises and cloud-based solutions in play. Having SQL Server ‘burst’ to the cloud, having SQL Server backup to the cloud—these are great examples of doing different pieces of the work where they’re best done.”

Stuart Ainsworth, Linchpin People Consulting (See Stuart’s blog here):

“There are multiple approaches to performance issues, and SQL Server gives you a lot of options to address issues: You can tune stored procedures or SQL statements, you can manipulate indexes or objects (like columnstores), or you tune hardware. Not every solution is viable for every situation, so having that flexibility is exciting when you’re faced with performance problems. The other thing is that the SQL Server license includes a lot of built-in capabilities (e.g., the database engine, SSRS, SSIS, StreamInsight, etc.). I’ve been in situations where people are still passing around Excel spreadsheets, and their eyes have popped wide open when I showed them how easy it is to build reports in SSRS.”

Strategy at the Forefront

As CFOs and CIOs work to build a data infrastructure that furthers their organizations’ business strategy, they have many ways to ensure that the data platform they choose gives them the value they need and the technology that enables innovation.

To learn more about Microsoft’s data platform, click here and follow us on @SQLServer to stay up to date on the latest news from our team.