A Brief View into the Benefits and Problems of Data Warehousing

Companies with a presence in multiple locations within the country and internationally have to manage various types of operations. Every type of operation generates some quantum of data. So, corporate decision-making involves accessing information from all such sources. Data warehousing systems provide organizations with the platform for a streamlined data management process. Likewise, it allows the collection and storage of data from diverse sources in one secure place. Over the years, the benefits and problems of data warehousing have emerged. Mostly, data warehousing is a critical component of any growing business intelligence system. 

Data warehousing combines technology and components, enabling a strategic use of data. The data accumulated is utilized for queries and analysis. In other words, data warehouses provide organizations with a method for processing data into valuable information. The output from such processes improves business operations across the board. 

Understanding Data Warehousing

Data analysis helps companies garner deeper information about their performance on various fronts. So, they achieve this by combining data from multiple assorted data sources. Indeed, the data warehouse runs queries and analyses on the historical data obtained from various resources.

Every piece of data placed in a data warehouse remains constant. So, it cannot be changed or modified. Data warehousing ensures the security and reliability of data. Additionally, any data from any location and date can be quickly retrieved and easily managed.

Benefits and Problems of Data Warehousing

Benefits

The successful setting up of a data warehouse can result in many benefits to an organization. These include:

Competitive Advantage

Organizations can enjoy a substantial competitive advantage. Decision makers can gain access to data to get a deeper insight into market trends, customer profiles, demand-supply situations, and more. They can make critical business decisions with enhanced accuracy. 

Increased Productivity

Data warehousing helps improve the efficiency of corporate strategies by designing an integrated database of data that is subject-specific and consistent. It integrates data from multiple and incompatible systems into a format that provides a consistent view of the organization. A data warehouse helps transform data into meaningful information. It allows business managers to carry out accurate and consistent analyses.

Other expected benefits are:

  • A data warehouse helps to combine numerous data sources.
  • It helps decrease the time taken for research and reporting
  • The documents restructure and converge, making reviews more straightforward for the customer.
  • It allows users to access confidential data at a single location from multiple sources. 
  • It also saves time for users to pull in data from various sources.
  • As the data center stores historical information, users can compare data from different times and trends to make accurate predictions.

Problems

Data Loading Resources Underestimation

Organizations sometimes underestimate the time needed to extract, clean, and load the data into the warehouse. Indeed, it may seem an easy and quick process on paper. But in reality, the total development time taken can be vastly different from estimates. Yet, the problem can be addressed by using the tools available to reduce the time and effort spent on this process.

Unforeseen Issues

In some instances, there could be technical issues related to the source systems feeding the data. Certainly, this problem potentially remains undetected for a long time and someone possibly identifies it after months or even years. Additionally, such unforeseen issues can affect the quality and consistency of data.

Relevant Data Remains Uncaptured

In some cases, crucial data highly relevant to an organization may not be captured by the source systems. This can again affect the reliability of data and the outcome of its analysis.

Homogenization of Data

The core principle on which a data warehouse operates is that it can create a similarity of data formats with data drawn from diverse sources. So, to achieve this homogenization, some valuable elements of data potentially are lost.

High Maintenance Costs

Data warehouses are complex structures and hence require regular and high-end maintenance. For smaller organizations, maintaining a data warehouse can mean spending out of their limited budget.

Complexity of Integration

The most critical aspect of data warehouse management is getting integration capabilities in place. Moreover, organizations often have to spend a long time determining the process of integrating various data warehousing tools. So, this can prove to be challenging as there are a large number of tools for every type of data warehouse operation.

Steps Involved in Data Warehousing

Data Extraction

This step involves gathering large volumes of data from various sources.

Data Cleaning

After its compilation, the data goes through a cleaning process. Then, they scan the data for errors. So, if any are detected, they can be corrected or omitted.

Conversion Of Data

On cleaning, the data format changes from a database to a warehouse format.

Storage

After it converts to the warehouse format, the data placed in the warehouse goes through a consolidation and summarization process. The consolidated form of data is easier to handle and use. 

A data warehouse organizes around the major plan of action of the enterprise. So, t supports decision-making. Likewise, the integrated nature of the data warehouse allows it to collate data from diverse sources and formats. It also is important to understand that data is time-variant. Its accuracy is limited to a specific time frame.

Conclusion

In the modern world, even while weighing the benefits and problems of data warehouses, it is unimaginable for businesses to operate efficiently and successfully without them. They have emerged as a valuable tool for businesses for tracking and analyzing vast amounts of data. It offers many benefits, such as enhanced security, better privacy, easy management and setup, and access to business-building information. 

However, warehouses are costly to build and maintain. Every business must customize its structure to match the unique needs of its operations. Before deciding to build a data warehouse, make sure you have a clear idea of your specific needs and objectives.