DBAs have superpowers: are you making the most of them?

29 Sep 2019 0 minutes to read Contributors


“This database keeps getting slower.” “Generating my reports takes forever.” These cries for help will be painfully familiar to every experienced Database Administrator (DBA).

Most end users tend not to think about the inner workings of their database environment. Until something goes wrong. Then they might run through their checklist to see if they can figure out the cause. If that doesn’t work, they’ll call on their expert DBA to fix the issue.

It’s a classic DBA trouble-shooting role. Here at SQLTreeo, we’re always more than happy to put on our superhero capes and fly to your rescue.  But, fixing problems is not the only superpower in your DBAs portfolio.

We can’t claim that your DBA will always be able to save the world. But, here are two ways they could make a big, positive impact on your business.

1.Reducing hidden development and maintenance costs

When you don’t have a DBA, or they are not effectively integrated into your development teams, unexpected delays and costs crop up all the time. It’s something we see every day. For example, your developers build a website; but when there’s no DBA on-site, the developers also create the database functionality.

On average, developers and Windows administrators spend around 10% of their time on database related activities. The immediate, obvious problem with that is one of efficiency. It takes your developers away from their primary role and area of expertise.

There’s generally also a time delay to the project. We work with many developer and maintenance teams and we estimate they take around 20% longer to complete database development tasks than an experienced DBA.

There’s also a bigger problem; the hidden costs to your business that don’t become apparent until later. Inexperienced teams tend to build database functionality that is a recipe for bad performance, timeout and locking issues. However, these database issues often go unnoticed until after an application or server goes into production.

Then, developers and Windows teams build safety nets and self-healing processes to fix these bad implementations.  And, issues are patched with more processors and memory. These cost money and, if a database is the root cause of the problems, changes made on the application side will not be an effective solution.

When we see such implementations, we immediately notice these points and can propose alternatives. But, by this stage in the process, we may not have many options left to eliminate the root cause(s). That means (and we see this on a regular basis) the customer has to pay indefinitely for monthly database maintenance costs that could have been avoided.

A question we frequently get from customers is: “Can I have a database that needs no maintenance?” That’s not an impossible ask. But, you need the right specialists in place during the build process, it can’t be done at the end.    

2. Identifying missed opportunities and boosting revenue

Unified, accessible and reliable customer data can open up massive business opportunities for companies across almost every industry. Firstly, it’s essential to provide the fast, convenient and personalized service customers now demand. When your call center teams have a complete view of your customers’ preferences, they can communicate with them more engagingly and build stronger relationships.

Your marketing teams can also use that consolidated data to spot gaps in your product range or create innovative ways to cross-sell or up-sell new features and services. For example, when we look at an insurance provider at a database level, what we actually see is often many different applications and legacy systems being used by separate teams. A DBA can look at this data strategically and build connections and correlations between the different systems to give a holistic view.

When you turn data into insight, multiple doors open. It can also help your operations teams to find innovative ways to optimize internal processes. This can drive efficiency and cost savings across your business.  

DBAs are always happy to be superhero problem solvers. But, their real power lies in their ability to turn your data into sustainable competitive advantage. Would your business be stronger with some expert DBA superpowers? Contact us for advice on how we can help.


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