Is Data Warehousing still relevant for your business?
24 February 2022
The technology behind data warehousing, the process of building and using a centralized data management system to enable BI reporting, has been around for more than 20 years. And yet, quite a few companies haven’t made the switch so far. High time, therefore, to take a closer look at some of data warehousing’s unique advantages and discuss how to set your priorities.
A single source of truth for your business
As we've highlighted already, a data warehouse is first and foremost a central data platform - as opposed to a series of Excel files scattered throughout your company. And while Excel files and models can provide a solid base for well-conceived business reporting systems, any approach falling back on a set of distributed files does have its limitations.
Think about what can happen to a spreadsheet shared by two colleagues. Will they always enter new data in the master spreadsheet consistently? Or will they instead work on their private copy, daily entering any further information they consider most important? And what happens if other colleagues request a copy for reporting purposes? Whom should they address in the first place, and how should they interpret the data in the spreadsheet?
Data discrepancies and ambiguities are unavoidable as soon as files get sent around (and that's bound to happen when storing data in a set of distributed files). The lack of a single source of truth is the main reason why companies realize they need a central data platform to which everybody can connect to build trustworthy business reports. Whether such a data warehouse is built on-premises or in the cloud is of secondary importance. If you want to build a single source of truth and reap its benefits for your business, it is essential to get going with data warehousing.
Structured data to build trustworthy business reports faster
Data warehousing brings your data together in a central platform. It, therefore, presents a unique opportunity to structure these data. Simply put, get your data into the right tables and link tables to one another to build databases that you can flexibly query as fast and efficiently as possible.
That provides a solid basis for faster, more performant data analysis. Thanks to a well-thought data structure and the application of a few best practices, including the insertion of primary keys, foreign keys, and surrogate keys in your data tables, the analyses needed to build BI reports will run so much faster.
Underpin your data warehousing efforts with a well-defined data strategy
Because data warehousing has been around for a while, it has been impacted by many technological innovations. Today, for example, more and more companies want to move from an on-premises data warehouse to a data warehouse in the cloud. Others wish to deploy artificial intelligence or machine learning technologies on their massive amounts of data.
For sure, those technological innovations offer many compelling opportunities. That is, when you're ready for them. If your vision is to strengthen your business by using the best available data technologies, always remember you need a solid foundation to build on. And that's precisely where data warehousing comes in: it's the first and most crucial step in executing a well-defined data strategy that impacts your business.
So what’s your next step?
For more than seven years, Datashift Business Intelligence professionals have helped companies develop and execute strategies to build a future-proof data environment. Are you looking for expert advice on how to strengthen your business by making the best possible use of your data? Don't hesitate to reach out for more info!