It’s often said that data is one of the most valuable assets a business can have. But it’s only valuable if you can manage it properly, and if you can turn the facts and statistics available to you into meaningful and actionable business insights. This is where data warehousing comes in.
In this post, we explain what data warehousing is, what it’s used for and why it’s important.
What is data warehousing?
Data warehousing is the process of securely and electronically storing, aggregating and processing information from a variety of different sources. For example, a data warehouse may pull together information from across a range of departments, such as marketing, sales and finance, to create a snapshot of your clients and their interactions with your business. Data can also be extracted from customer-facing applications and external partner systems.
Why is data warehousing needed?
Data warehousing is a crucial part of any good business intelligence strategy and is designed to help business leaders to make astute, data-backed decisions.
Data is usually drawn from various departments on a periodic basis to create a bank of historical and timely information that can be retrieved and examined at any given moment. Having an electronic library of real-time information like this makes the process of accessing facts and statistics quick and efficient. When used in combination with other business intelligence strategies, data warehousing helps you to easily see the story of your business and identify key trends and patterns.
Why is data warehousing important?
So is data warehousing really necessary or can you get by without it? In a nutshell, good data warehousing can be the difference between success and failure. After all, how are you meant to analyse past performance and learn from past mistakes if you aren’t armed with relevant, consistent and accurate information?
A good data warehousing strategy can have numerous benefits. For examples, it can:
Break down siloed information and facilitate better decision making
Without data warehousing, decision makers become reliant on siloed data sets, individual spreadsheets and gut instinct. This can leave them open to risk as they’re forced to make decisions without possession of the complete picture. Data warehousing allows you to merge data from across a wide variety of sources to create a unified view of the information you hold, facilitating rapid and effective decision making.
Ensure you have accurate and consistent information
Using high performance data warehousing solutions enables you to extract, organise and store data in a format that is easy to access and make sense of. Software can also ensure your data is cleansed effectively so it doesn’t contain any irrelevant or duplicate data. This means that you can trust that you’re working with accurate and consistent information. Users should also be able to filter and analyse data by product, service or time period to tease out answers to crucial questions and gain new insights.
A data warehouse allows you to put data governance rules in place to protect the privacy and security of your business. Without an effective data warehousing strategy, you could be putting your business at risk of GDPR non-compliance. You could also be at risk of financial penalties, lawsuits and reputational damage.
Create efficiency through automation
Traditionally manual tasks, such as report generation, can be automated through data warehousing solutions. Users can pre-set rules and performance criteria to ensure reports only provide relevant information. By automating processes like this, staff are freed up to focus their efforts on high-impact tasks that require human brainpower.
Help you to better understand your customers
Data management can be used to give you a deeper understanding of your clients and their wants, needs and challenges. Seeing how they interact with your business across different touchpoints can help you to build customer profiles which can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, they can be used to develop buyer personas that can inform targeted content marketing campaigns that truly resonate with your audience.
Help you to better understand business performance
Integrating data from multiple sources can give you an insight into your current and historical business performance and help you to identify patterns, trends and performance gaps. This can help you to find out which areas of your business require focus and investment.
Help you to make future predictions
Being able to access and analyse a wealth of information can help you to make predictions about the future of your business and the future of the market. This capability is vital if you want to stay one step ahead of the competition and stay relevant to your audience.