The development of high-performance & low-cost servers, and the addition of Data Warehouse features within mass-market Relational Data Base Management Systems (RDBMS) have brought sophisticated Data Warehouse hardware and software within the range of SMEs. In addition, advances in architecture and more mature development approaches have reduced the time required before the company begins to realize tangible benefits from having a Enterprise Data Warehouse.

Enterprise Data Warehouse

Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is an integrated, subject-oriented, time-variant and physically centralized data management system mounted on hardware optimized for mixed workload management and large-query processing. An EDW collects data from multiple enterprise applications. Additionally, the EDW is designed to collect highly curated and quality-controlled data conforming to an enterprise data model. This guarantees the semantics of the data for enterprise-wide use and is typically designed to be capable of answering known questions.

The warehouse combines data in an aggregate, summary form suitable for enterprise wide data analysis and reporting for business requirements. The five components of a data warehouse are, Production data sources, Data extraction and conversion, database management system, Data Warehouse administration & BI tools.

Capabilities of a Data Warehouse

To equip all authorized users with relevant data, a typical Enterprise Data Warehouse should have capabilities such as:

  • Role based access i.e. sales and marketing role will have access to only their data set while CXOs will have enterprise wise/wide data access.
  • The warehouse model is scalable as business grows like new information/data sources is added or new property/club is added it stays relevant.
  • Information can be analyzed by various metrics and dimensions like time, date, amount, sources and like game, property etc.

Advantages of Data Warehouse

An enterprise level data warehouse provides the following benefits to the business:

  • A consolidate data storage provides a reliable single version of truth of the entire business.
  • Sales/ marketing and finance all would agree to same business numbers like revenue, costs.
  • It is the backbone for data analytics which provides information and decision system for timely and effective actionable insights.
  • Provides a consolidate view of marketing campaigns and their performance to granular level hence marketing team can draw higher ROI.
  • Empowers stakeholders to make decisions based on most reliable information.
  • Provides latest infrastructure for visualization and reporting of information for business users

Why Data Warehouse?

IT Perspective: For SMEs, the IT benefits of Data Warehouse relate to their ability to deliver an analysis capability while maintaining an efficient operational environment and are listed as:

  • Protects the operational transaction processing computing resource from unpredictable end-user reporting and analysis demand.
  • Allows IT to defer upgrades of high-cost OLTP processing resources by reducing workload on the production resource.
  • Provides a clean, QA’d and validated source of logically consistent business performance data, providing a single version of the truth.
  • Provides a single place for developers to go to get the data needed to fulfill end-user requests.
  • Allows IT to respond more quickly to reporting requests from business units.
  • Potentially moves query and analysis processing cycles to a less expensive platform.

Business Perspective: The dimensional structures created in the data mart portion of Data Warehouse is inherently easier for the non-technical user to understand because the dimensions structure the data the way the business user thinks. This improvement in ease-of-use means that executives and managers get timely access to data thus equating to:

  • Greater over-all organizational effectiveness.
  • Improved decision making due to readily available quality information.
  • Easy identification of trends, readily finding out-of-pattern events, and seeking the nuggets
  • of information thus leading to useful business insights.
  • Everyone in the organization agrees on a single, consistent set of numbers.

Developing an affordable Data Warehouse

Two factors affect the ability of SMEs to deploy a Data Warehouse quickly and cost effectively:

  • The increased capability with reduced costs allows SMEs to establish an effective DW infrastructure without breaking the bank.
  • An iterative process with frequent deliverables works best while building an EDW. Typically, each iteration will take about 90 days and it ends with the implementation of end-user functionality that has true value for the business.

Developing a Data Warehouse should be within the scope of any SME’s IT organization. It makes the business more effective by improving the decision-making. And it can lower operational business and IT costs by off-loading the I/O and processing demand from operational computing resources onto a lower-cost processing environment. The company achieves improved management effectiveness and operational efficiency at the same time making Data Warehouse great for SMEs.