In this article, we’ll discuss the effect data warehousing can have for the Sage X3 user experience, so that you and your team can figure out what is today’s best solution for your company.

Data is driving business decision-making, which perhaps doesn’t seem like a shocking statement.  However, as data grows in amount and in significance, data warehouses are relatedly an important aspect of business today.  If you’re like me, you are wondering the who, what, when, where, why, and how of data warehousing.  Who manages a data warehouse?  What do they look like?  When is a good time to invest in a data warehouse?  Where do you house one?  Why should we go with a data warehouse over other Business Intelligence (BI) data stores?  How do we set up a data warehouse?  As a Sage X3 customer, you might have one or more of these questions.  This article will aim to answer your questions, so you can understand the product category and can begin to assess your data warehousing needs with Sage X3.

Who?  Let’s start by discussing who implements and automates a data warehouse.  Commercial data warehouse solutions usually come “out of the box” ready, meaning a simple installation process, then replication of your Sage X3 and other source data.  A consultant who specializes in extracting, transferring, and loading (ETL) will deploy your data warehouse, automating the ETL of data from your sources, like Sage X3.  After that, a consultant who focuses on expediting, optimizing, and streamlining reporting, budgeting, and/or dashboard tasks will work with you on querying data from your warehouse.  After setup and training, the business end user can manage a data warehouse, eliminating IT middlemen.

What?  Data warehouses are multi-dimensional databases, but allow me to explain what that means.  Data warehouses are digital storage sources and databases, hosted on a server, shared or its own specified platform.  To compare, a hard drive allows you to store multiple types of files and software in one place, while today’s data warehouses provide you a single space for multiple kinds of operational and transactional data.  Another way to think about data warehouses: they are like multi-dimensional versions of a spreadsheet in that you can structure your transactions and operations in aggregated, dynamic, and efficient ways, with the functionality required to avoid errors in a business user friendly software.
When?  There’s not a specific moment on every company’s timeline that you should know to implement a data warehouse.  However, if you’re starting to experience the pain of manual documentation, in addition to managing and analyzing your data with an application like Excel, resulting in errors and suffering staff morale, and/or high costs of time and money, it is probably the right time to look into a data warehouse.  Additionally, if the Sage X3 server is sluggish because of oftentimes large and simultaneous data queries, a warehouse provides high performance and stability without slowing X3 down.  Another typical situation: your executive team not only requires reporting and dashboards from Sage X3, but also from multiple data sources (payroll system, sales system, etc.).  A data warehouse can provide you the unified database that consolidates your different data sources and makes your analytics processes that much easier – and more enriched.
Where? A data warehouse is not a physical entity that will be stored anywhere other than digitally on a server.  Data warehouses used to be a development project for IT professionals, built specifically for the organization, usually working on the project for years.  These days, a new species of data warehouses are on the market as a commercial solution you can buy and set up to meet your data management goals.  Today’s commercial warehouses are managed through a data source management program, like Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.  Another example: Solver developed their own application, appropriately called BI360 Data Warehouse Manager, which is an easy-to-use interface for managing the data warehouse, as a piece of the BI360 Suite.
Why?  Why should you go with a data warehouse over an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube?  There are plenty of BI solutions that recommend or require an OLAP cube to manage and analyze your data.  However, because OLAP cubes are not transactional SQL server databases, they have to be managed by staff that has specific OLAP experience and skills, like MDX query language, due to their technical complexity.  Additionally, they focus on analytical data instead of transactional information.  Data warehouses is structured around subjects, and you can replicate diverse data types to the easy-to-use, stable platform for simple management and analysis with your BI tools.
How?  How will you interact with your data warehouse solution?  Business end users can manage today’s commercial data warehouses.  You can configure and automate replications of your data to the warehouse one time or regularly – or you can easily click a button to replicate any time you need.  Modern, commercial warehouses are designed, so you can access, manage, and analyze your information without involving the IT department.  Furthermore, they are Microsoft SQL Server relational databases, ordered around subjects, like customer, product, and sales.  Because they house diverse data source information, they are innately good for cross module analyses and financial consolidations.  Finally, they stand on their own, usually without any transaction processing, recovery (other than database backups), or concurrency control mechanisms necessary.  They are powerful products equipped with adjustment features, like currency conversion, data cleansing, data integration techniques, and eliminations to make your life easier.
Data will continue to drive and shape company futures, so data warehouses are going to increase in prevalence and importance, particularly when it comes to bringing diverse data sources in to enhance reports, budgets, and data visualizations.  If you are looking for a consolidated space to store your Sage X3 data, as well as information from additional data sources while eliminating the IT team as middlemen, data warehouses can be a dynamic solution for you.  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 Sage X3 experience.

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