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Utilizing Big Data Is the Key to Your Industrial Competitiveness
August 10, 2017
Avoid Incomplete Data With a Smart Enterprise Strategy
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EDW Modernization Is Not a Rip-and-Replace Project

In tech years, two decades is a lifetime or more. Yet that’s at least how long the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) concept has been around and in use. EDWs have a long history, and the use of the concept is stuck in the past for too many organizations. All too often, an EDW modernization project can be on your IT team’s to-do list, but the anticipated costs involved keep moving it to the back burner.

This frustrates both IT teams and the lines of business they support. On one hand, the costs seem so prohibitive that an EDW upgrade can’t be justified. If it costs $35,000 per terabyte to manage the EDW, then a business can only defend keeping limited amounts of data available. On the other hand, lines of business may ask why new data sources aren’t available for analysis or, if they can be made available, why it takes so long—sometimes months—to incorporate them into the data warehouse. Data is produced quickly, and businesses run too fast for data analysis to be a project that takes months. Departments often create their own data silos to sidestep the limits of ancient EDW architecture.

Alternatives to Upgrading Legacy EDW

Like most legacy technologies, the EDW faces new challenges, like needing more data to drive business decisions or a faster turn-around when making a request for insight. To adapt to a new world powered in real time by real data, modernization is key. While businesses may have been formerly deterred by cost, the good news is that the financial burden associated with modernizing an EDW has been eradicated—now there are viable, lower-cost alternatives available for most infrastructures.

There’s more: modernizing your EDW technology doesn’t require destroying your current data warehouse, an expensive upgrade of your existing equipment, or the costly archiving of cold data. When done intelligently, a modernization project gives your lines of business greater access to the full range of analytics. Business units are no longer limited to insights gained from structured data—they can take full advantage of semi-structured and unstructured sources, such as logging files, clickstreams, beacon data, and more.

If you can drop the data management cost from $35,000 per terabyte to $2000 per terabyte, what doors would that open? If your business units could quickly access on-site and external data without waiting for infrastructure upgrades, how would that transform business decision-making?

Choosing an EDW Modernization Direction

First, understand that modernizing your EDW is no longer a rip-and-replace project. The goal of the EDW is to support business decisions. View this modernization as a way to enhance and supplement your current data warehouse, which is not obsolete. It can be used differently and become more agile, allowing the “hottest” data to remain inside the data warehouse while “colder” data is archived to cheaper platforms.

There are multiple paths to modernizing your EDW, so what should you look for? And how do you choose the right option for your business?

  • Look for an option that gives you access to the full range of analytics—structured, semi-structured, and unstructured. Above all, the goal of an EDW is to drive better business decisions. EDWs specialize in historic, structured data, but you must be able to augment that data with outside data sources, such as device data, clickstreams, and log files, among others. Choose an option that allows you to offload non-core workload data while also allowing maximum flexibility to spin up new data sources quickly.
  • Be sure you can scale to accommodate new and existing data sources in a cost-efficient way. Data sources and volume will not lessen—both will continue to grow. Choose a system that allows your data capability to scale cost effectively and as business needs demand.
  • Choose an option with robust security that protects your data from leaks and enforces a governance structure. Use tools that have security built into their platforms and that can be centrally managed by security personnel within your business. Make sure your data pools located outside the legacy EDW meet the same high standards as the data inside the EDW.

Benefits of EDW Optimization

To realize the transformative power of data, you must be able to manage the complexity of multiple data sources and types, and do it faster than ever. With legacy EDW technology, that’s a big challenge. You should look for a more modern EDW optimization solution that that’s enterprise ready and has security and governance structures built into it.

The best solution will allow you to load any data format while analyzing the data based on their personalized requirements. The marketing team at a retail outlet can combine customer comment data from social sites with sales data to create real-time customer offers. The logistics team can pair weather data with on-site sales data to predict future demand. There are no limits on the insights your company can uncover.

If you’re not thinking about modernizing your EDW, you should be. Upgrading is easier than you think, and the benefits your business will reap make the process more than worthwhile.

If you’ve been frustrated by the costs of an EDW upgrade, or by departments sidestepping IT oversight to create separate data repositories, it’s time to modernize. Download this e-book to learn how to execute your own EDW modernization project.

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