Snowflake Native App Framework heats up developer distribution & monetisation

Known for its love of data engineering, toboggans, polar bears and information-centric application monetisation platforms, the Computer Weekly Developer Network team needed little persuasion to attend Snowflake Summit 2023.

Once again held in the Ceasars Palace and Ceasars Forum, the Las Vegas event this year saw the firm announce a key developer enablement technology.

The Snowflake Native App Framework (which is currently in public preview on AWS) is now available for developers to build and test Snowflake Native Apps.

With over 25 new Snowflake Native Apps now available for customers to install from Snowflake Marketplace, the company insists that Snowflake Native Apps ushers in a new era of data collaboration, but why?

Because, say the Snowflakers, it enables developers with the tools needed to create apps quickly with Snowflake’s high availability and auto-scalability, while helping to eliminate security and privacy hurdles for customers because the apps run directly within their Snowflake accounts – why does this matter?

Again, because, say the Snowballers (Ed: if they don’t have a formalised name, can you stop making these tags up please?) this technology works to unlock new revenue streams and enables Snowflake customers to discover and install these apps — without having to move or expose their data.

Distribute & monetise apps 

According to Snowflake, the Snowflake Native App Framework gives Snowflake Native Apps providers the necessary building blocks to develop faster, deploy more easily, and operate more effectively with the performance, scale and efficiency of the Snowflake platform. 

“With Custom Event Billing (public preview) and on-platform monetisation (general availability) through Snowflake Marketplace, organisations can then seamlessly distribute and monetise their apps without having to set-up cost-intensive billing systems,” notes the company.

The suggestion here is that the native deployment and distribution model reimagines the traditional approach of copying data to apps, instead bringing the work to the data by enabling apps to run inside an end users’ existing Snowflake account. 

Customers no longer have to export or provide external access to their data, significantly accelerating the path to customer acquisition and adoption for providers.

“Every type of data application has historically required customers to move or copy their data and entrust it to third-party vendors, which is particularly problematic when customer data is highly sensitive. The Snowflake Native App Framework reimagines the status quo, enabling developers to bring their apps directly to their customer’s data, without that data ever leaving the customer’s environment,” said Christian Kleinerman, SVP of product, Snowflake. 

Kleinerman promises that Snowflake ‘seamlessly takes care’ of security, privacy, and governance concerns.

25+ new apps

Snowflake Marketplace already has over 25 new Snowflake Native Apps available today. The company says that over one hundred providers are currently developing apps that span multiple industries and use cases. 

Kleinerman and team suggest that organisations are building in the Data Cloud to bring insights to end users, from data clean room apps to apps supporting financial investment decisions – all of which moves are designed to enable end users to unlock value in data.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, is building Snowflake Native Apps in the Data Cloud to bring its models and user interface to clients. DTCC is building both actual and hypothetical portfolios that its analysts and clients can use in Snowflake to model and predict scenarios, so clients are better prepared to navigate market events and associated risk.

Snowflake Marketplace

Snowflake Marketplace continues to scale as the a cross-cloud marketplace for data and apps in the industry with over 36,000 unique visitors every month. 

Over the past year, Snowflake Marketplace has increased providers with publicly discoverable listings by 66 percent (year-over-year as of April 30, 2023), with over 430 providers publicly discoverable (as of April 30, 2023) and more collaborating privately. In addition, Snowflake’s network effect measured by ‘stable edges’1 grew 84 percent (year-over-year as of April 30, 2023), and more than 25 percent of Snowflake customers have at least one stable edge (as of April 30, 2023).

Data content exclusively available in the Data Cloud on Snowflake Marketplace is also expanding with Cybersyn, a data-as-a-service company founded in 2022 by Coatue’s former head of data science Alex Izydorczyk, providing proprietary economic datasets for corporations, investors, and governments. Cybersyn has also launched two Native Apps that enable customers to benchmark eCommerce sales and acquisition performance and monitor the US financial industry.

To tap into this expanding library of data offerings, Snowflake has introduced the Marketplace Capacity Drawdown Program (general availability), enabling customers to buy data and Snowflake Native Apps with their Snowflake Capacity commitment. 

By enabling committed Snowflake Capacity to be used for Snowflake Marketplace purchases, organisations can now shorten lengthy procurement and contracting cycles like vendor onboarding, contract negotiations, and payment logistics. 

In addition, Snowflake is unveiling new capabilities that make it easier for customers to search and discover data through natural language processing on Snowflake Marketplace (in development), tapping into the power of generative AI to help all users connect to the relevant data they need faster.

Data programmability comes of age

Snowflake also announced new innovations that extend data programmability for data science, data engineering, and application development; advancements to its single, unified platform; and more at Snowflake Summit 2023

For software application developers that have designs on being data scientists, this is (arguably) all pretty interesting stuff… for data scientists, it’s also (arguably) quite compelling… and for the new breed of data-developers (if that job title actually exists) who want to engage in data programmability and bring its insights into their applications, it’s also pretty good news – and there’s surely no argument about that.

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