Data Warehousing with Dynamics GP for Professional Sports Teams

Data warehousing is a powerful way for Professional Sports Teams using Microsoft Dynamics GP to manage diverse data types and produce richer financial reports.

Nowadays, the amount of data you are working with can be massive, maybe especially for professional sports teams.  Since data correlates directly to advertising, performance, profit, and so on, data warehousing can assist professional sports teams in staying on budget and on track with owners, players, administrative staff and the finance team.  Maybe you’re not that familiar with a data warehouse solution, so you have several questions.  This article will aim to offer answers that speak to your questions, so you can better understand how data warehousing can expand professional sports team data management and analytics from Microsoft Dynamics GP and additional data sources.

Defining it.  Let’s begin at the concept level: data warehouses (DWs) are multi-dimensional databases.  Furthermore, a DW is a virtual storage space and a server-staged database, running on its own server or a shared one.  In comparison, an external hard drive provides you a space to house various file types and software whereas a modern, commercial DW provides you a place to store a wide range of operational and transactional sets of data.  You can also conceptualize a DW by thinking about three-dimensionalizing an Excel spreadsheet where you can order all of your operational and transactional information in consolidated, efficient, and sensible ways, which is exactly the intended reason for the tool, eliminating errors with easy-to-use technology.  Managing today’s commercial DWs requires a technical database management program, like Microsoft SQL Server Visual Studio or Solver’s system for warehouse management, the BI360 Data Warehouse Manager, positioned within the BI360 Suite and boasting a business user friendly platform.

Implementation.  A commercial DW typically comes “out of the box,” meaning a simple implementation in terms of deploying and automating the software, followed by replication of your professional sports team data from Dynamics GP and any other data sources, such as ticket systems, payroll systems, etc.  A consultant who has expertise in extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) of your data will install the DW, then automate that ETL process from your data sources.  Next, a consultant who specializing in streamlining and optimizing your financial reporting, budgeting, and data visualization processes will help you to enrich decision-making by using the DW to navigate your professional sports team’s future.  The best DW investment would be a tool that is equipped with a pre-built integration right to GP.  Once your DW is configured and your team knows how to use it, business end users across the company can manage the tool without any IT involvement.

At what point?  There’s not a precise threshold that your professional sports team can cross that will require a DW.  But consider all the ways that the breadth and depth of your professional sports organization’s data have intensified – all of the measurables, all of the analytics that fill reports and influence decision-making, consisting of growing amounts of data from disparate sources, which has to be consolidated, typically from separate spreadsheets.  Today’s commercial DWs save you time and money by eliminating errors and the tedious task of manual documentation that we’re used to in our aggregation processes.  Additionally, if the Dynamics GP server is slowing down at any regularity because you have usually more than one user querying sizable data sets, sometime simultaneously, DWs deliver a high performance and stability without making the accounting system or operational databases sluggish.  The question of “At what point?” could perhaps be best answered at the point when you’re eager to create more robust, well-rounded financial statements, budgets, and dashboards comprised of data from more than one system, like CRM, payroll, and ticketing systems – all from the DW.

Let’s talk about OLAP cubes.  Regarding storage of multiple data types, a number of BI applications suggest or require an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube, so the question of why not an OLAP cube over a DW might cross your mind.  OLAP cubes are not transactional SQL server databases, so management of the device is not simple: you’re going to need personnel with OLAP-specific skills, developed from hands-on experience with aspects like MDX query language, because of how technically complicated they can be.  In addition, analytical data is the typical OLAP cube output rather than transactional data.  DWs are organized by topic in one database, and you are able to replicate various types of information to the business user friendly, intuitive interface for flexible data management and analytics with your BI software.

Warehouse Management.  A business end user can manage a modern, commercial DW.  Configuring and automating the replication procedure of your professional sports team organizational data is simple, whether you are doing a one-time push or more of a regular process.  You can easily pull information with the click of a button.  Because most DWs are Microsoft SQL Server relational databases, systematized by subject, like ticket sales, season ticket holders, advertising revenues, expenses by vendor, and so on, you won’t need the IT department’s help.  Data warehousing naturally provides cross module financial and analytical functionality by housing multiple types of diverse data from more than one source.  They do not typically involve transactional processing, concurrency control mechanisms, or recovery, besides backing up your database, because they are stand-alone solutions.  DWs usually come equipped with attributes and dimension trees, as well as adjustment functions like currency conversions, data cleansing, eliminations, and integration techniques to ensure more efficient processes.  You can also leverage a DW to assist in migrating information from an older ERP to Dynamics GP – or from GP to a future accounting system.  Instead of converting years of historical information over to Dynamics GP, you can house this data in a DW, perform historical report there, and bring over the last period’s closing balances over to the new ERP, as just one example.

Data will continue to grow in amount and significance for your professional sports team decision-making processes.  Relatedly, DWs will also steadily become more relevant, particularly because you can consolidate diverse data types and your disparate data sources into one place to enrich your financial reporting, planning and data visualizing.  Should you want to depend on one technology to aggregate all of your data into a unified, high performance space without relying on IT to manage the software, DWs can deliver that solution.  Solver offers a fully built, configurable Microsoft SQL Server-based data warehouse stand-alone and as part of the comprehensive suite of BI modules and would be happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Data Warehouse solution that enables collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities for your Microsoft Dynamics GP experience as a professional sports organization.

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