If knowledge is power, then businesses with access to multiple data centres should be the most powerful in the world.
The reality is that it’s not enough to have data – we need to be able to access it and analyse it. Easily, quickly and accurately.
It’s for this reason that we so often see businesses who don’t utilise the data at their disposal to make key business decisions. For your typical business, data:
- Is located in multiple systems
- Is stored in multiple formats
- Could be up to date (but are you sure?)
- Is incomplete and keeps changing
- Needs some serious cleansing and restructuring
So what can we do?
Traditionally, businesses would create a centralised data warehouse. This would theoretically allow a single view across all sources of data, allowing, for example, an HR department to quickly compare performance reviews with financial compensation records.
Unfortunately, 50-70% of data warehousing projects fail. Why?
- The project is too costly
- They require too much time to setup
- Require highly skilled staff
- Requirements change too fast for the project to keep up with
The good news is that we now have better options. The first is one that everyone is aware of – cloud-based data warehousing. By outsourcing the warehousing, businesses immediately solve all of the above issues. The solution is already setup, it’s cheaper to run, you don’t need many specialist resources to utilise it – perfect?
Of course, it’s taken technology a long time to get to the point where cloud-based data warehousing has become a viable option, and there is still a general concern around security and speed. The key is to make sure your data is stored with a reputable vendor – there are plenty around now (unfortunately not as much in Australia yet), but make sure you’re comfortable with the laws of the country the warehouse is situated in. The speed of cloud-data access is always improving, but is currently not as fast to access as many on-premise data storage solutions.
The second option is to use in-memory data analysis. Not as widely understood, in-memory stores data your PC’s RAM for fast access and analysis. This significantly speeds up response times, but only a limited selection of data can be stored based on the RAM limitations of your machine.
Of course, you don’t have to choose one option or the other – it’s possible to use cloud storage to store the data, and in-memory data to analyse the data, which is what the Workforce Analytics tool, Visier, does. This way, you have the ease and low cost of cloud storage with the speed and responsiveness of having the data on your local PC.
Whatever method you adopt, it’s clear that data warehousing has become an industry in itself. It’s far more efficient for businesses to outsource data storage and focus on what their core business than worry about the costs, time and effort involved in setting up their own warehouse.