Are you still tracking important business information in Excel files? Do you have to update the same business data in multiple corporate databases? Are multiple employees wasting valuable company time in creating variations of the same reports? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, you just might benefit from your own data warehouse.
What is a Data Warehouse?
According to Wikipedia, a data warehouse is a central database used for data analysis and reporting to management. It throws the harsh light of day onto corporate data, so that managers can make informed decisions.
Constructing a data warehouse is generally a singular activity – every data warehouse is a custom project. It involves time to research the available data, the reporting requirements, the roles different data consumers will play, and other information critical to getting it right. Success means providing business value that far outweighs any business process changes that value might need.
Still, there are certain qualities that every data warehouse will have:
- An emphasis on quality data – Having consistent reports is helpful, but only if those reports reflect reality. A good data warehouse project must focus on ensuring that all data is (and continues to be) correct.
- Reliable backups – You can’t build a mission-critical database for a business without ensuring the data is protected from accidents or hardware failures. Backups (and a solid restore process) are a must.
- Clearly defined data editing processes – Who’s responsible for editing each data element? What happens when the same data is edited in two different places? These and other similar questions need to be answered before the data warehouse ever goes online.
- Bullet-proof data transfer procedures – In projects that funnel data to or from external databases (like financials or inventory), you need to be certain that everything gets from Point A to Point B exactly the way you intend. You also need audit trails, in case something doesn’t go like you intend.
How Do We Begin?
Each data warehouse is a custom project that depends on the kinds of data elements, the editing/reporting needs, and the data sources involved. So, every project begins with a meeting to define objectives and answer the Big Questions.
And how does the meeting begin? With you contacting us, of course!