Having the right infrastructure is vital to a good data solution. But boy does that come with a lot of decisions. Let’s look at a few options you will run across and provide you with the pros and cons for each. Before you start making this decision you will need to nail down some key information:
- Can the infrastructure handle the data load?
- What number and size of reports being run?
- Number of users accessing the system?
If you can’t access the data, well then you just have a lot of data with zero useful output. One of the first decisions to make, when thinking of setting up your data warehouse, which has a high impact on accessibility, is if the data warehouse is hosted on-premise or in the cloud. Both have their benefits and negatives so it’s important to find what works best for your company.
On-Premises Data Warehouses
Benefits of On Premise
- Servers are easier to customize
- Configuration/Upgrades can be performed ad hoc
- Security: Easy to control access
Negatives to On-Premise
- Scaling: as data needs grow, the cost of maintaining the Warehouse is greater.
- Maintenance: Cost of maintaining Hardware, Storage, and a Team to do these updates.
Cloud Data Warehouses
Benefits of Cloud Warehouses
- Easy and unlimited scalability
- Pay for what you use
- No upfront cost for Cloud Deployment
- Minimal Maintenance required
- Easier access if your company has multiple locations
Negative of Cloud Data Warehouses
- Concerns about moving and storing critical data with a third party
- Speed could be an issue dependent on network
Software – Analytics
There are a number of Business Insight (BI) tools available to help in analyzing data. The features of your BI solution will depend on the type of information you want to display. The features to consider are:
- Available visualizations
- Ability to drill-down
- Ability to export dashboards/reports
OLAP tools and Predictive Analytics
Features like Data Mining and Predictive Analytics could be valuable to a company. If the data will be used to help predict future outcomes, then predictive analytics should be considered. Data mining also allows a company to predict the future but also helps to find anomalies and patterns in large data sets.
Ad Hoc Reporting
Ability to create robust reports in house quickly and easily
BI Tool Cost and licensing
Beyond the cost of the hardware and actually building the dashboard, it’s important to consider the licensing costs as well. It is a good idea to first determine your BI needs. Licensing costs are different for authoring and viewing dashboards. Some BI platforms charge more for Read-Only Dashboard and Reports. Others charge more for Developer and Ad hoc access. Enhanced features like predictive analytics and embedded report authoring tools will have additional costs.
The advantages of having a data warehouse are many, however, it can seem like a daunting task to set it up and maintain on an ongoing basis. Making sure you have the right staff, infrastructure, training, and reports, there is certainly a lot to unpack there. Working with a team that has experience in the data analytics field can help to ease some of that pain and get you on your feet.
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