What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term data warehousing? Are you familiar with this technology and what it can do for your business? Have you overlooked it in the past, but hope to change your ways in the future?
Data warehousing dates back to the 1980s, but as of late the concept has picked up steam as the result of positive changes within the cloud, mobile, and information technology spaces.
With Teradata, Oracle, and Amazon Web Services (Amazon Redshift) leading the way, there’s no shortage of providers for companies to choose from.
This leads to an important question: what are the pros and cons of using a data warehouse?
While data warehousing isn’t the right fit for every company after you compare the benefits and potential pitfalls you may find that it’s just what you’ve been searching for.
Benefits of Data Warehousing
Everyone wants to better understand the benefits of data warehousing before jumping in headfirst. This is understandable, especially if you’re new to this technology.
Let’s examine a couple of the top benefits of using a data warehouse:
Better Decision Making
Do you ever struggle to make high-level decisions because you don’t have access to all the data you need?
You’re not alone, with a recently published article in Harvard Business Review noting the following:
“Cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all.”
In some cases, the reason for this is simple: decision-makers simply overlook the importance of the data available to them.
Conversely, it’s just as common to ignore data because you don’t have access to what you need.
This is where data warehousing comes into play.
With the ability to aggregate data from multiple sources, it’s much easier to compare and analyze every last piece of information to make more informed and confident decisions.
With some data here, some data there, and some data nowhere to be found, it’s a challenge to know exactly what’s available to you.
This leads to another telling statistic from the same Harvard Business Review article:
“80% of analysts’ time is spent simply discovering and preparing data.”
Imagine that. Eighty percent of the time we spend on nothing more than discovering and preparing data. This means that only 20 percent of analysts use their time is actually review data.
With data warehousing, every bit of information is under the same roof. Not only does this help save time by cutting back on the discovery and preparation of data, but it also ensures greater quality, more consistency, and a higher level of accuracy.
With the ability to consolidate data from multiple sources, you don’t have to worry about searching in several places to find what you need. It’s exactly where you expect it to be, 100 percent of the time.
In other words, you can create “one source of truth” that your entire organization can pull from when analyzing, comparing, and reporting data.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Data Warehousing?
By now, you understand the benefits of data warehousing. You see why so many companies – regardless of size and industry – are moving down this path.
But are there any reasons to watch your step? Here are a couple of things to think about:
The Setup Process
You don’t decide on a whim to use a data warehouse. There’s a lot that goes into this decision, such as:
- Choosing the right provider
- Deciding which type of data to store
- Sharing the technology and its uses with your team
- Finding a solution that fits your budget
Fortunately, once you choose a data warehouse and have a system in place for inputting data, everything will come together. Your job’s not done at that point, but it’s much easier.
It’s okay to have concerns about confidentiality. In fact, this is a good thing when you take into consideration the fact that hundreds of millions of files are exposed by accidental loss every year.
If you have sensitive data, you must implement a system to ensure that it’s only viewable to employees (and outsiders) who need to see it. The problem with this is simple: by limiting who can see the data you also limit the power of your data warehouse.
You don’t want to share confidential information with the wrong people, but at the same time, you don’t want to reduce the value of your data warehouse. This is where the balancing act begins.
As you can see, data warehousing on its own is extremely powerful. However, you can take things to the next level by combining it with a data reporting platform.
With Kloudio, you can easily connect to your data warehouse for a more efficient way to analyze, track, and report on your data.