There really is no set amount of data that prompts the need for data warehousing. Some may become overwhelmed by the volume of data their company is producing, while other may become overwhelmed by the amount of data sources they need to integrate. To decide if you’re close to needing a warehouse, you can start by first gathering together your different data sources.
What really indicates you need some form of streamlined solution is when you must pull from these multiple data sources every time you need to answer basic business questions. To determine the ROI of your advertising, for instance, you may need to turn to several different spreadsheets and databases. You would then refer to yet another set of spreadsheets and databases to determine if your customers’ lifetime value has been affected in any way by your service initiatives.
If you’re at the point where such reports and analytics are not being run due to the complexity and time involved in cross referencing different sources, it’s probably time to start seriously considering data warehousing. Here are five other signs that you might need a consolidated solution.
Abundant Use of Excel, Access, or Google Spreadsheets
If you need to gather data from various sources, only to combine it into one spreadsheet for consumption by others, you’re probably at the end of your rope. In this scenario, you’re essentially creating manual data reports. That’s fine on a small scale, but once creating such reports is getting in the way of actually acting on the findings, you need to figure out a better solution.
Too Much Time Spent Updating Reports
Even after all that information is in a central spreadsheet, you’ll still have to refer back to all your original data sources to provide accurate updates. Have you ever found yourself estimating or even rounding up in order to avoid tracking down another database to get the real statistics?
Discrepancies on Reports Between Departments
The desire to estimate or cut corners could result in conflicting reports from various departments. Sometimes those reporting are just so overwhelmed with the process they don’t even realize they’ve entered incorrect information. Even worse, these departments could have their own resources for data that others don’t access. How can you make sure everyone’s using the same numbers at all times?
The Data Overwhelms Your Spreadsheet
It is possible to overwhelm your programs with too much data. If you get to the point where no amount of freezing panes, pivot tables, charts, and pages will help you locate your data even within an Excel spreadsheet, it’s time to consider another solution.
Too Much Waiting, Not Enough Doing
Without a central data repository that’s automatically updated, you could spend more time waiting on access to data or data from coworkers, than actually using that information. If you’re a manager, such inefficiencies will not only slow down your ability to monitor your team, but the team’s ability to work under tight deadlines.
Once you implement a data warehouse solution, you can eliminate such problems. Your new solution will allow you analyze and store enormous amounts of information without slowing down to generate your reports. Even better, your security will be top notch because you won’t need to spread your encryption efforts over several different programs.
So, what do you think? Is it time to implement data warehousing with your organization?
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