Snowflake’s Data Exchange: Transforming Data Collaboration

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Table Of Contents

There are three ways to share data using Snowflake: sharing access directly between users, selling data on the Snowflake Marketplace, and using a configurable data hub feature called Data Exchange. While, direct data sharing and Snowflake Marketplace are likely more familiar to Snowflake users, the lesser-known Data Exchange feature serves a distinct purpose, enabling private data exchange. 

Private data exchanges operate in restricted environments, limiting data sharing to specific authorized users or groups. This feature offers more control and security over the exchanged data, unlike public data exchanges, which openly share data with a broad audience.

Snowflake can operate as either a public or private data exchange. While other data exchanges provide access to third-party data, the Snowflake Private Data Exchange is the only platform that enables customers to privately access real-time second-party data sources on a large scale. 

Let’s say Company X and Company Y are partners in a supply chain. Company X, the manufacturer, uses Snowflake’s Private Data Exchange to securely share real-time production data with Company Y, the supplier. In return, Company Y shares its up-to-date inventory levels and shipping data with Company X. Both companies can now access each other’s data in real-time, privately and securely, without involving any external data exchange. Direct and private data sharing helps each company optimize their production schedules and inventory management, improving efficiency and cost savings for both. 

With Snowflake’s Private Data Exchange, users can create their own dedicated space for centralized data storage and selective sharing with designated individuals, teams, or organizations of their choice. 

In Snowflake, data providers can control and manage data access to only authorized individuals or groups (either internal or external). They’re also able to overcome the challenges of data inconsistencies that often arise when multiple users and teams access and work with the same dataset. 

For example, let’s say that a company has a dataset of customer orders. The dataset includes the customer’s name, address, order date, and order items. If two different employees enter orders into the dataset, there is a chance that they will make different errors. Snowflake’s Private Data Exchange ensures that everyone operates with the most current and synchronized information.

By collaborating on data efforts, enterprises can tap into the combined data from various sources. Collaborating and sharing data enables businesses to unlock valuable insights, uncover hidden patterns, and capitalize on emerging trends for sustained success. For example, a retail company and its suppliers can collaborate on data analysis to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that influence consumer purchasing decisions. 

As a result of this collaboration, the company can identify the most popular products, understand the relationship between the product price and the quantity sold, and determine the price point that will generate the highest volume of sales.

Snowflake Data Exchange (SDE) allows enterprises to extend private data collaboration beyond internal teams and securely collaborate with external partners, suppliers, and customers, fostering a robust network of shared insights. If you intend to share data with a diverse audience, both within and outside your organization, you can leverage listings available to specific consumers or publicly on Snowflake’s Data Marketplace.

The concept of data collaboration

Data collaboration is the process of two or more organizations sharing data with each other to achieve a common goal. This collaboration can take place for a variety of purposes, such as improving customer service, developing new products, or conducting research.

Some common examples of data collaboration include:

  • Healthcare: Hospitals and clinics sharing patient data to improve the quality of care they provide
  • Retail: Retailers sharing customer data to improve marketing campaigns and targeted product offerings
  • Finance: Banks and other financial institutions often share fraud data, enhancing detection and prevention efforts
  • Transportation: Transportation companies share traffic data to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion

Organizations may share data directly with each other or use a third-party platform. Data collaboration provides a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved decision-making: Organizations can make better decisions about how to allocate resources, develop new products, and improve their services
  • Increased efficiency: Organizations can streamline operations and reduce costs
  • Enhanced innovation: Teams can identify opportunities for innovation and develop new products and services
  • Improved customer service: Oorganizations can provide better customer service and offer more personalized experiences

Data collaboration can also pose some risks. These risks include:

  • Protecting customer privacy when sharing data 
  • Mitigating security risks, including data breaches
  • Legal implications 

Despite the risks, data collaboration is a valuable tool for organizations that are willing to take the necessary precautions.

Traditional data collaboration methods must contend with data silos, where information is fragmented across different systems. Additionally, data governance, security, and compatibility issues between different data formats and systems make collaboration and extracting meaningful insights more difficult. Enterprises that can’t share data will struggle to meaningfully use their data.

Introducing Snowflake’s Data Exchange

The Snowflake Data Exchange platform functions as an integrated data-sharing and collaboration hub across various systems. The platform is a centralized data hub that enables private data sharing from a single provider to multiple consumers within private groups. Data providers can use this capability to publish and distribute data while helping consumers explore and easily access the information.

Snowflake key features

Snowflake users can access and analyze data without explicitly sharing it, enabling new modes of collaboration. The platform empowers users to manipulate data without the necessity for direct sharing. 

Its data integration features combine data from different sources for easy analysis. This cuts down the time and hard work typically needed for moving and merging data.

SDE makes it easy to share data at scale by providing a secure and scalable platform for data sharing. It also has features that make it easy to discover, explore, and consume data.

Snowflake instantly reflects data updates in the data share. This feature, made possible by Snowflake’s cloud-first architecture and isolated cloud storage, ensures consumers have the most current data at all times. Unlike traditional data-sharing methods that involve data copies, the SDE provides direct access to the underlying data tables, eliminating data duplication and allowing for immediate access revocation. 

While legacy architectures previously made it impossible to have this level of data governance, SDE enables businesses to maintain complete control over data access and security within the platform.

In Snowflake, businesses can leverage the platform’s membership management controls for secure data distribution to customers, suppliers, and partners. Additional features include application security controls like encryption, access control, input validation, and auditing to monitor sensitive data usage. Snowflake offers personalized listing options so users can control data visibility based on their specific  requirements. As a result, users can decide who can see the data, ensuring it aligns with their privacy and security preferences.

Transforming data collaboration

Snowflake is transforming data collaboration by eliminating data silos, enabling seamless data integration and facilitating a secure data exchange.

Eliminating data silos

SDE breaks down data silos and fosters a culture of collaboration. Despite the reliance of many businesses on Enterprise Data Warehouses to prevent data silos, today’s extensive volume of data limits these platforms. SDE provides a solution to this challenge by unifying data across multiple locations and cloud platforms. 

The platform’s data sharing features allow businesses to combine their data with outside partners and see everything in one place. This capability enables organizations to access a wide network of diverse data sources and discover new opportunities for growth.

Enabling seamless data integration

Snowflake’s seamless data integration capabilities eliminate the lengthy ETL, FTP, and electronic data interchange (EDI) integration cycles commonly associated with traditional data marts. By leveraging advanced data integration techniques and modern technologies such as data virtualization, data replication, and API integrations, Snowflake enables swift data ingestion and integration to make data analytics more accessible to businesses.

In addition, Snowflake’s cloud-based architecture and unique data-sharing capabilities ensure greater data accessibility. By separating storage and computing, Snowflake stores data once and makes it accessible to multiple users and applications simultaneously, ensuring real-time access to data without performance bottlenecks. The customization features optimize the data flow, which can lead to significant speed improvements.

Facilitating secure data exchange

SDE provides enterprises with several robust security features to secure their data. With advanced security controls, encryption, and data access policies, Snowflake protects sensitive data and maintains compliance throughout the exchange process. Its granular access control and auditing features enable enterprises to maintain control over data access, fostering a trustworthy environment for secure collaboration and facilitating compliance with regulatory requirements.

Case studies and use cases

The SDE facilitates data sharing and collaboration across different industries and users, from retail suppliers to epidemiologists to hospital administrators.

The healthcare industry

Today, the SDE remains the single source of truth for COVID-19 data and is freely accessible worldwide. The dataset integrates data from various sources like WHO, COVID Tracking Project, and Johns Hopkins University, along with demographics and healthcare provisions. Users can perform detailed analyses, combining case counts with ICU bed availability to assess the potential risks of overwhelmed healthcare systems. 

Hospital systems with different tech architectures can report cases and ICU beds, allowing government officials to track when cases may overwhelm local hospitals. Snowflake’s cloud-based platform enables easy data loading from multiple sources, empowering organizations to access and use critical data for data-driven research on COVID-19’s impact and response.

Weather data collaboration

Weather Source has made its COVID-19 dataset accessible on the SDE, offering global historical weather data dating back to October 2019, present data, and 15-day forecasts. Scientists can combine and augment COVID-19 data with weather data, empowering collaborative research to understand potential correlations between weather conditions and virus transmission rates.

Retail insights

Retailers with numerous suppliers can benefit from setting up a regional SDE area and publishing their cash register point-of-sale and customer demographic datasets. This setup allows suppliers to access data in near real-time and gain insights into customer behavior, product enhancement, and marketing strategy effectiveness. 

A retailer could grant access to select Snowflake accounts associated with suppliers, creating a special online store where users can access all the retailer’s datasets. The retailer could make some datasets fully visible to all suppliers, such as customer demographics, while others have row-level security, ensuring that suppliers only see sales data related to their products.

Data collaboration: The key to success in a data-driven world

By providing a secure and governed environment, Snowflake empowers businesses to break down data silos, foster innovation, and unlock valuable insights, making it a true game-changer for data collaboration in the digital era.

However, enterprise users seeking to enhance their data collaboration capabilities should turn to Revelate. Revelate’s data fulfillment platform helps users to discover and understand the data that is stored in Snowflake. It promotes collaboration by making it easier for users to find the data that they need to share with others.

Revelate brings together individuals with diverse expertise and perspectives, accelerating data productization. Teams can leverage their collective knowledge and skills to rapidly identify the most relevant and valuable data for product development. 

Revelate can package data tailored for specific use cases or external distribution. To further enhance data productization, Revelate provides features that make it easy to create, share, and manage data products.

Integrating Revelate and Snowflake Data Exchange empowers enterprises with robust data collaboration capabilities, enabling them to fully unleash the value of their data assets and propel business success to new heights.

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