This article will focus on key benefits of a data warehouse (DW) when associated with your cloud- and on-premise data sources.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.


Have you watched a Tasty food video on Buzzfeed? The videos always start with a default still of the finished dish, then gives the viewers a tutorial of the ingredients and measurements that go into the recipe. In the same way, a data warehouse (DW), a platform where all of your important data sits, can be seen as the final meal and the ingredients can be interpreted as the different data sources that make up the recipe, in this case, the analysis. Just as ingredients come from different origins, data sources come from different places. This article focuses on the benefits of data warehousing while being on-premise and the cloud.

I will cover cloud, data warehousing, and data sources in regard to hybrid cloud data management:
Cloud – Companies are slowly moving to the cloud. For example, Microsoft recently launched a true cloud version of Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Dynamics 365, in November 2016. This enterprise resource planning (ERP) system lets organizations combine ERP, customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and Microsoft Office capabilities into the next generation of business applications in the cloud.  This trend is similar to  how business intelligence (BI) products are on their way to the cloud. As mentioned in previous articles, the cloud is continuously evolving and its usage is rising immensely. Cisco, the largest networking company in the world, found that more than 83 percent of all data traffic will be based in the cloud within the next three years. On-premise users do not have to worry because, as cloud BI tools continue to get smarter, it’s likely that hybrid models will appear in the marketplace, fusing cloud power with the control of on-premise. Thankfully, although everything is slowly conforming to the cloud, your company doesn’t have to. A data warehouse (DW) is able to consolidate all your data sources no matter where they are located in the web, cloud, or on-premises.
Data Warehouse – Data warehousing is a financial analyst’s dream. All of the organization’s metrics are gathered in one place. Informatica defines a DW as a “technology that aggregates structured data from one or more sources so that it can be compared and analyzed for greater business intelligence (BI).” DWs have a different structure from a standard operational database. Standard operational databases are optimized to maintain strict accuracy of data in the present by rapidly updating real-time data, whereas DWs are designed to give a view of data over time. Consolidating for organizations with several entities has never been easier as it is stored in one location, and most customization and features are available, such as using attribute rollups and creating budget/statistical data that reside in the warehouse. It is organized with business user accessibility at the center of design, and the information housed within DWs can be used for periodical reporting, planning, forecasting, and modeling, as well as in dashboards or graphical scorecards where trends and trajectories of organizational data can be analyzed visually.
 
Data sources – A data source can be a database, a spreadsheet, a dataset, or even hard-coded data within- or outside your organization. Think of a DW as a manager of all your data from your important data sources. Modern DWs solutions are becoming more popular, especially since they consolidate your company data source information into one high performing space without needing IT to manage the software. They bring multiple data sources together and house a wide array of data types, whether your data  is on-premise or cloud-based,  and improve budgets, data visualizations, and financial reporting capabilities. The warehouse is a singular database for aggregation of your separate data sources, clarifying and enriching your analyses.
How do you know if you need a DW? It’s pretty simple. If you are starting to feel like you are wasting time and energy due to manual documentation, in addition to analyzing and managing data with a program like Microsoft Excel, DWs can help eliminate errors, tedious manual documentation as well as wasted time and money. You can either buy a commercial DW software, or you can plan to build a homegrown DW. Determine what data is required based on which questions will be asked by the users at your organization when they do reporting and analysis because the purpose of a DW is to provide company decision makers with the most accurate, timely information they need to make wise business decisions. I highly suggest you do this by aligning your DW with your company goals set by your executive management team. This will truly help your organization be on the right track this year and guide the decisions for where to begin. You can find more information about DWs in this article about preparing for your first DW implementation.
Consider what your organization needs regarding a DW knowing that your company does not have to move all your systems to the cloud or on-premise, and you can consolidate your data into a modern, user-friendly DW solution. This should save you money and be less risky compared to designing a home-grown DW. If you would like to learn more, I highly suggest you communicate your company goals to your consultant or a DW architect on hybrid cloud data management and analysis.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

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