Fine-tuning the Data Warehouse

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How to Sell Senior Management on a Data Warehouse

The real benefits of data warehousing are indirect: the ability for your company to make better, faster decisions that will save money and increase revenue.

Hardly anyone these days disputes the need for data warehousing as a means to preserve institutional knowledge. Big Data, however, begets Big Data management headaches, so the quality of your warehouse management and analytics software often spells the difference between a highly valuable repository and a data dumping ground.

The primary goal of the warehouse is to preserve data value. It's not enough to simply compile and analyze massive quantities of information, you need to condition your data to make it usable for a wide variety of applications and architectures.

This idea of data value is driving a cottage industry in warehouse specialty software. Firms like Teradata have pretty much nailed down the major warehousing platform space, so smaller firms are looking to work out many of Big Data management's nettlesome details.

Attunity Ltd., for example, recently expanded its warehousing and change data capture (DCD) portfolio to reflect the rapidly changing nature of data environments. The package is aimed at capturing large transaction data sets from multiple sources, and loading them into the Teradata environment while minimizing the performance impact on source systems like Oracle, SQL Server and DB2. The company has also added a new high-performance replication engine for the Teradata Parallel Transporter (TPT) that helps minimize licensing costs.

Speed is also a crucial factor in warehousing. The quicker data can be integrated and compiled into useful information, the more nimble an organization will be. Kalido says it has pushed down the accelerator on its Kalido Information Engine with a new version that boosts performance by 65 percent even as it extends its reach to all facets of the warehouse architecture. The system boasts a simplified toolkit and user interface, as well as native integration with leading analytic platforms like IBM Cognos, Microsoft SSAS and SAP BusinessObjects.

Even the most state-of-the-art warehouse can quickly become overwhelmed if the quality of data is not maintained. Redundant, corrupt and lost data can gum up the works if allowed to fester. To counter this, Ataccama Corp. recently added the DQ Analzer for Teradata to its master data management (MDM) and governance software suite. The tool lets admins drill down into their data to check for missing fields, odd patterns and duplicate records.

It's also true that warehouses are being asked to manage data from a variety of sources, not just traditional enterprise environments. Teradata gave a nod to this reality by forging a partnership with ClickFox, an analytics firm that specializes in disparate data sources like social media, mobile services and e-commerce. The company says it can identify and track consumer trends and behaviors by analyzing customer interactions across multiple channels.

A successful warehouse is more than a collection of moving parts. It must provide a streamlined, integrated view into the very heart of your organization's identity. The information you glean from the warehouse will help discern the operations you excel at, and the ones you don't.

It's the best way to gain an accurate picture of who you are and where you need to go from here.