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Something brewing in the cloud

Published: May 25th, 2017 By: Suzanne Robicheau

IBM

Most people think craft beer goes well with foods such as oysters, sausages, burgers, and wings. For Robyn Warrier, a data acquisition specialist in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the consummate pairing for any craft brew is cloud-based data warehousing.

“It wasn’t immediately obvious,” says Warrier, CEO of Warriertech, a contender in the creation of end to end Internet of Things (IoT) systems for small industrial users. “We were in the process of developing a device for another application when a head brewer friend got excited about the possibilities for his line of work. There was nothing in place to support craft brewing, so we collaborated to develop BrewCloud, a system that monitors beer production by sending sensor data directly to craft brewers via their computers, tablets, and smartphones.”

According to Warrier, BrewCloud’s strength is allowing craft brewers to make timely, data driven decisions that increase productivity, efficiency, and consistency – all to their competitive advantage.

Adaptable systems

“The margins on craft beer are thin and losing a vat is costly,” she explains. “With BrewCloud, brew makers don’t have to be standing over the beer in order to monitor it. They can watch sensor data in real time, track the popularity of specific recipes, set parameters for alarms, and receive alerts by instant messaging and email. The system is so adaptable that they can even choose whether the sensors send temperature details in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Cloud-based data warehousing was a given for Warrier, who wanted to give brewers the autonomy to react to data and act quickly to alter brewing conditions. Versatility was another selling point for a cloud-based system. “At present, we are focusing our energies on improving productivity for small and medium-sized craft breweries,” she says, “but the Cloud is so adaptable we could easily change our vertical market to concentrate either on other beverages or food products.”

With advances in IT transforming the way we live and work, many small and midsize businesses are looking to cloud-based data warehousing for easy extraction and analysis of information. Not only does cloud storage eliminate upfront investments in capital hardware, but it also reduces the need for specialized support from internal IT staff, thereby freeing data analysts to focus on what’s really important: improving business performance. 
Other benefits include reduced costs for operations, a shorter time to value, and the ability to scale either up or down.

Organizations know it’s important to close the gaps in data management. They see the value in moving to a simple, accessible data storage system, and they know the headaches inherent in staying with what they have. What’s holding them back is a clear understanding of how best to move forward with a business intelligence (BI), reporting, and analytics strategy.

A checklist prepared by TDWI shares best practices for adopting and taking advantage of a cloud-based data warehousing solution, encouraging businesses to seek out services with integrated analytics that facilitate data storage, provide a broad analytic base, and scale easily in response to changing demand.

Recommendations for a comprehensive system include:

  • business rules for data standardization and transformation.
  • the ability to replicate and change data capture instead of refreshing the entire data warehouse.
  • fully integrated BI components with a complete end to end architecture that spans the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load), data management, and analytics.
  • ready-to-use systems with standard setups that simplify and speed up deployment.
  • web-based portals that may be customized for specific roles and business needs
  • strict security provisions and compliance with data privacy requirements

Industry experts like Gartner tell us that cloud-based data warehousing solutions are transforming the market. Nova Scotia IT specialists have ample evidence that it’s doing the same for craft breweries. One thing is certain when it comes to beer making: cloud-based solutions are critical for getting ahead.

 

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