Data warehousing in data and analytics is becoming widely adopted and increasingly important. According to Allied Market Research, the global data warehousing market is poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.7% and reach $51.18 billion by 2028. But why exactly are businesses flocking toward data warehouses? The answer lies in the transformational power they possess. As a centralized and consolidated data management concept, data warehousing redefines how businesses collect, store, and leverage large data sets from internal and external sources. It encompasses data extraction from multiple operating systems and transformation into standard, structured formats. The transformed data is then loaded into a centralized repository known as a data warehouse, which is technically specialized integrated storage for querying and analyzing the information using dimensional models, such as star or snowflake schema. With a data warehouse, business leaders can have a clearer view of their organization’s data, providing a foundation for advanced integrations, analytics, business intelligence, and prudent decision-making processes. This article highlights the concept of real-time data warehousing for business intelligence in detail and how it can add value to your organization. Keep reading to learn more. Role of Data Warehousing in Business Intelligence Data warehousing (DW) is a core component of business intelligence (BI) architecture that enhances various data management processes, including: Organization Data warehousing extends to the extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) process for extracting, integrating, and harmonizing data from multiple source systems. This process organizes diverse data sets to remediate inconsistencies and standardize them for further business analysis. Cleaning Data warehousing involves various data quality improvement steps during the ETL process, such as cleansing, validation, and enrichment. This allows your team to identify and resolve erroneous, incomplete, or inconsistent data sets for accurate insights and decision-making processes. Storage As noted earlier, DW solutions serve as a centralized repository for consolidating an organization's data from multiple internal sources. Technically, a data warehouse integrates business information from CRM systems, transactional databases, sales reports, or any other data source into a single database. Extraction of Useful Business Information Data warehouses are inherently built to optimize data analysis through aggregation, complex queries, or multidimensional analysis. With these approaches, businesses can expedite the process of ad-hoc querying to explore and analyze voluminous data sets and extract useful information based on patterns, trends, and insights. What Are the Components of BI and DW? BI and DW are broad terms that refer to the overall process of storing an organization’s data in external or external sources. This process focuses on analyzing the data using BI tools to generate actionable insights. There are various data engineering components that make BI and DW serve business goals better, including: Data Collection As the name suggests, this component involves collecting business information from various sources, whether internal or external. Organizations can capture valuable data for future analysis and decision-making from web analytics, transactional operating systems, surveys, social media, and customer interactions, among other sources. This process can be achieved using APIs and web scraping tools. Data Integration and Storage After collection, the data is integrated and stored in a centralized database, in this case, a data warehouse. Data engineers can use various integration tools, such as Oracle Data Integrator (ODI), to combine information from diverse sources and transform it into a standardized format for quality consistency. Data Analysis Another BI and DW component is data analysis, which entails applying a range of analytical tools and techniques to extract meaningful insights from structured data. Prevalent practices for this component include forecasting, statistical analysis, and trend identification using reporting tools that reveal patterns and correlations in data. Data Distribution The data analysis won't be beneficial business-wise unless the findings are passed on and disseminated to key stakeholders within the company. The data distribution component leverages various techniques, such as dashboard reporting and data visualization tools, to supply managers and other decision-makers with real-time insights and reports. Business Decisions The ultimate goal of real-time data warehousing for business intelligence is to facilitate data-driven decision-making processes across the organization. This BI and DW component involves leveraging the insights and analysis derived at the analytics stage to drive prudent business decisions. For instance, the insights can be used to solve current challenges, optimize operational processes, identify new opportunities, allocate company resources, or set strategic goals. Why You Need to Implement Data Warehousing into BI Architecture Business Intelligence (BI) architecture refers to the standards, structure, policies, and predefined design principles that oversee the implementation of a BI system in an organization. It’s worth noting that BI architecture wouldn’t serve desired business goals effectively without data warehousing, and vice versa. That said, here are reasons why you need to implement data warehousing into BI architecture: Task Automation DW enhances the automation of data collection, integration, transformation, and storage, eliminating the need for manual data management tasks. This saves time and effort while minimizing the risks of human errors. Increased Efficiency The concept of DW includes a centralized, optimized repository for streamlined data access, analysis, and reporting. This means data teams can extract both integrated and pre-processed business information from the database swiftly and with greater efficiency without the need for querying multiple disparate sources. With this approach, organizations can enhance overall operational efficiency and decision-making processes. Accuracy of Data Use Data warehousing helps organizations enhance the reliability and accuracy of the data they pump into Business Intelligence. This is because the concept integrates and transforms data from multiple sources into consistent quality, standard, and structure to eliminate discrepancies. Moreover, consolidating information in a healthcare data warehouse enhances a unified view of the data across the board for improved accuracy during analysis and reporting. Cost Savings Implementing data warehousing for business intelligence specialization means organizations can save hardware, software, and maintenance costs associated with managing multiple storage solutions or setting up separate data marts. And on top of that, DW enhances efficient data analysis, which can translate to cost savings in terms of informed operational decision-making or optimized resource allocation. The Benefits of Data Warehousing for Business Owing to the more unpredictable than ever business climate and customer demand, business leaders need actionable data that can shift the course of their organizations on a dime. Cloud data warehousing can match you with aspiration and result in a ton of other business benefits: Better Data Quality The fact the US economy loses up to $3.1 trillion per year due to bad data underscores the implicating ramifications of inconsistent data quality within organizations. The data warehousing concept extends to standardized data integration and transformation processes that ensure quality and structure consistency, regardless of the source. The result is a reliable and trustworthy centralized repository for real-time analytics and optimized decision-making. Better Business Perspectives DW links data management programs to business priorities, offering a unified enterprise view of the entire operations. This approach enables cross-functional analysis of financial indicators, market trends, and consumer behavior to give business leaders a broader perspective of their organization’s operational performance. Besides strengthening business acumen, better perspectives will point the organization to new opportunities. Increased Operational Efficiency According to 53% of IT leaders, hybrid and multi-cloud data warehouse solutions are among the most important trends to implement in today's business landscape—for several reasons, among them increased operational efficiency. DW includes centralized storage for faster and optimized access to pre-processed and integrated data. This means a swift retrieval for enhanced efficiency in data analysis and reporting, as well as broader decision-making. Informed Decision Making Data warehousing gives organizations access to reliable, accurate, and up-to-date business data for faster and data-driven decision-making processes. For instance, business intelligence and data warehousing is used for comparing current data against historical information to identify trends, patterns, or correlations that can improve a company's overall approach to decision-making. Increased Client Satisfaction With a well-implemented data warehousing strategy, organizations can collect and analyze customer data from all touchpoints to better understand their behaviors, tastes, preferences, and needs. These insights are handy in personalizing offers or improving products and services, translating to enhanced client satisfaction and loyalty. Enhanced Business Intelligence As a core component of BI systems, data warehousing facilitates the overall top three business intelligence trends—in-depth data analysis, reporting, and visualization, empowering business leaders to draw meaningful insights from voluminous data sets. Valuable insights extracted from the BI system can be deployed for strategic planning and performance monitoring to fortify overall business intelligence. Saves Time One of the top business benefits of data warehousing is the automation of core data handling tasks, such as integration, transformation, and storage, saving organizations the time and effort of manual management. Insights from Forbes reveal that in the conventional 40-hour work week, automation can save employees up to 6 weeks of time annually. Your employees can reinvest this time into career development or use it to pursue personal growth opportunities. Generate a High ROI The first-ever and most referenced study on the ROI of data warehousing conducted among 62 organizations reveals a return on investment of 401% over a three-year timeframe. Implementing DW enables organizations to leverage their data assets more efficiently for optimized operational efficiency and decision-making, leading to better business outcomes and a high ROI. Cost Effectiveness While setting up a data warehouse, whether cloud or on-premise, can demand a significant upfront investment, DW consolidated business data to cut the costs of acquiring and maintaining multiple storage solutions. This also means reduced hardware costs, translating to an overall cost-effective administrative overhead in the long haul. Remember, there are various types of cloud data warehouses to choose from—you should get an option that matches your budget. Competitive Advantage The concept of data warehousing empowers organizations to leverage big data for an overall competitive edge in their respective industries. Recent industry insights reveal that 83% of companies acknowledge pursuing big data to leap-frog the competition. This is because big data implementation enhances business intelligence and the utility of external data assets for improved decision-making and faster response to market changes. When Does Your Organization Need Data Warehousing? Although data warehousing should be a go-to strategy for any organization that wants to augment agility and competes favorably, there are scenarios where implementing the solution results in instant business benefits. For example, you'll need data warehousing for business intelligence: As information volume rises: expanding data volume comes with management and analytics challenges. DW offers a scalable solution that can efficiently organize, manage, and analyze growing data for future analytics. When workflows require querying data from disparate sources: data warehousing integrated data from different sources before transforming and consolidating it in a centralized repository, this makes it easier to query and analyze the information, source notwithstanding. When data exists in different formats: DW is essential if your business is dealing with data stored in different formats. For instance, an organization with structured data stored in databases and unstructured data stored in spreadsheets should implement DW to transform and standardize these diverse formats into one schema for improved analysis and reporting. Types of Businesses That Can Leverage Data Warehousing for Their Operations With the growth of data and internet access, any organization can tap into real-time analytics for insight-driven decisions and business processes. Industries that can benefit immensely from DWH include: Retailers: retail businesses can leverage DWH to analyze customer trends and behavior, customize marketing campaigns, segment target audiences, and streamline inventory management. Distributors: distributors can use a data warehouse to connect procurement, logistics, and distribution data for optimized supply chain management. Manufacturers: manufacturing companies can tap into DWH to modernize supply chain management, manage quality control data effectively, monitor equipment performance, and streamline production processes. Pharmaceutical developers: safety is a critical concern for pharmaceutical developers, and data warehousing can assist with product traceability by integrating data at different stages of development. Food producers: a DW combines data from different databases to help food producers analyze structured information for better consumer insights and demand planning. Federal government: with a data warehouse, federal governments can integrate data from a range of domains, sectors, and policy-making bodies to unravel trends and predict future outcomes. State government: state governments can leverage DWH to collect and integrate vast data sets from multiple agencies and departments, a consolidation that will drive comprehensive analysis and reporting. Local government: local government solutions can use a data warehouse to integrate data from security and surveillance systems to take proactive actions and deter crime before they happen. IT developers: A data warehouse can be a handy testing and development environment for IT companies as it offers a controlled and isolated architecture for maximizing data integrity. Hotels: hotel companies can use a data warehouse to integrate customer data from reservation operating systems or online review forums for further analysis. Casinos: casinos can implement DWH to integrate data from various revenue sources, whether slot games, gaming tables, or restaurant venues, for optimized revenue management. E-commerce: eCommerce business owners can use data warehousing to better understand the needs and preferences of their customers for personalized shopping experiences. Factors to Consider When Designing a Data Warehouse Designing the architecture of a data warehouse can be a complex, lengthy, and dynamic process that varies with the varying needs of different organizations. However, some factors cut across all projects and are key to consider: Business Requirement Among the foremost factors to consider when designing a data warehouse are the business requirements and objectives that the solution intends to address. This means specifying the type of data needed, as well as the analysis and reporting objectives. It is also imperative to have the input of all key stakeholders while assessing the business requirements to ensure that the data warehouse meets mutual needs and goals. Cost Estimation It’s important to consider the expenses of various phases of data warehousing, including designing, implementation, and maintenance. Other cost factors to have in mind are personnel resources, hardware and software expenses, and potential future expansion expenses. However, while estimating DW cost, it’s important to balance cost and value by prioritizing functionalities that add more value to your organization in terms of current needs. Capability This factor entails evaluating the technical capabilities of the data warehouse to gauge whether they match the business requirements. For instance, you can assess the solution to determine if its capabilities meet your organization’s data integration, transformation, and modeling needs. Some of the factors to consider while doing this evaluation include the demand for real-time or batch processing, as well as data volume and complexity. Accessibility & Speed In a recent survey, 52% of IT leaders identify swift accessibility and faster analytics as the key items in their data warehousing strategies. It is crucial to design a data warehouse that supports faster and more efficient information retrieval and analysis. With this in mind, it will help if you make allowances for a range of factors that impact accessibility and speed, such as caching mechanisms, indexing strategies, and query optimization techniques. Balancing these factors, among others, such as portioning methods, will balance the need for swift access to the data warehouse, providing a responsive user experience. Scalability Setting up a scalable data warehouse is essential as this enhances the organization’s ability to accommodate future growth needs and expand data volumes. For enhanced adaptability, take into account the potential growth rate of user demand and the need for integrating new data sources. It will also help if you consider scalability in terms of processing speed, storage costs, and hardware infrastructure for greater flexibility in handling growing data volumes without sacrificing performance. Data Warehouse Use Cases That Can Add Value to Your Business DWH enables organizations to leverage their data assets effectively, opening up endless opportunities and possibilities for driving growth, streamlining operational efficiency, and enhancing customer experiences. Here are examples of data warehouse use cases that can add value to your business: Understanding Customer Behavior By running real-time analytics on large data sets stored in their data warehouses, organizations can access valuable insights that reveal the behavior of their target audience in terms of needs, preferences, and trends. Other insights that can be drawn from data analysis to understand customer behavior better include demographics, interactions, and purchase history for personalized product offerings, optimized marketing campaigns, and improved customer segmentation. Sales Pattern Analysis A data warehouse unifies sales data from multiple sources for in-depth sales performance analysis across varying product groups or customer segments. With a 360° view of sales patterns around different products across all markets, your organization can streamline inventory management and seize cross-selling or upselling opportunities to stimulate overall sales. This also enhances data-driven decision-making when it comes to promotional and pricing strategies. Market Research and Analysis Data warehousing integrates external market data in your organization’s centralized repository for in-depth analysis and research. Examples of external data sources that can be integrated into a data warehouse include customer surveys, industry reports, or even social media trends. By analyzing this market information, your business can draw comprehensive insights into market expectations, target audience preferences, and competitor analysis for more informed decisions and greater agility. Conclusion Business leaders rely on real-time insights drawn from reports, dashboards, or analytic tools for ongoing business performance monitoring, marketing, enhancing customer experience, and prudent decision-making. However, in the wake of a flattering economy coupled with heightened technology and dynamic macro factors, data-driven organizations must rethink their approach to data management. Data warehousing consolidates data sources to gather, integrate, and organize information for quick retrieval and real-time analysis. This enhances decision-making processes for faster time-to-market and response to market changes, giving your organization an upper hand over the competition.