Why you need a data warehouse to get the most from your Business Intelligence

Data Warehouses and Business Intelligence technologies are often closely linked as their ultimate purpose is often to provide understanding and show trends in vast swathes of data. When used together, they are able to bring the understanding of data on revenue, costs, customer satisfaction, efficiency and the results of previous decisions to the next level. We’ll be looking at each in turn and how they can bring the best out of your business when used together.

What is a Data Warehouse?

With most businesses at least partially online, and back office processes such as accounting and HR more digital than ever, there is data available on almost every function of business. Sales, returns, reviews and online comments all clamour for attention and insight. By centralising all of an organisation together and applying rules to optimise it for reporting and analysis, it becomes far easier to gain actionable insights.

Centralising this information has previously been expensive and time consuming to set up and store this data. Managing sections as they expand has also been cumbersome. However, automated data warehouses such as ZAP’s Data Hub make it possible to load in your data as structured files or unstructured assets directly into the system. From here, analysts can run queries to transform the data on the fly whenever this is required.

Benefits

Improved decision making – A single database which is managed automatically ensures the data behind every decision consistent, consolidated and current. Decisions based on fragmented, inconsistent or outdated information are a thing of the past.

Responsiveness and flexibility – Setting up a database to initially track value of sales vs location is no good if the business needs suddenly change and the need turns to tracking value of returns by location instead. Data warehouses are far more flexible and allow granular segmenting of data and analysis by new metrics or queries far more easily than database applications.

Customer service and understanding – Spotting trends in data can then identify the people behind the statistics. Finding and understanding your best customers and groups means you can provide them with the service and satisfaction they require to spend more.

What is Business Intelligence?

The brain doesn’t just store information, it can also make decisions based on past and present experience. If data warehousing is the storage of your data and decisions, Business Intelligence is the thought process behind everything.

It encompasses the set of strategies, technologies, applications, data and processes used by an organisation and supports in data analysis, demonstration and propagation of business information. It combines the external data derived from the market with the internal data obtained from the company and creates an “intelligence” that cannot be reaped from any singular set of data.

In short, Business Intelligence helps enterprises to make effective business operational and strategic decisions. In today’s hyper competitive market place it is a vital tool for staying one step ahead of the competition.

Why you should use DW with your BI

BI tools can help your company to get game changing insights from your business data. But BIs can only be effective if the data they are provided with is clean, clear and decipherable. This is where the DW comes in.

By gathering data from multiple sources and departments and preparing it for analysis within a BI, DWs help your BI tool to provide even greater insight into the data that you already own. Without this step in the process, your business could end up making decision based off data that is incomplete or even plain wrong. With a smart data warehouse and an integrated BI tool, you can literally go from raw data to insights in minutes.