BI and Data Warehousing: Which is More User-Friendly?

August 5, 2019

BI and Data Warehousing: Which is More User-Friendly?

So, you’re looking for a BI tool to help with your data, but you don’t want a tool that makes you learn how to code in order to use it. You want to spend your time analyzing your data, and you want a tool that makes your job easier, not harder.

Many solutions appear perfect from a distance, but you need to find a BI solution that is actually user-friendly in application, and that gives you the power you need to work directly with your data.  

For these reasons, and a few others that this post covers in more detail, choosing an end-to-end BI solution, rather than a tool that requires a data warehouse, may make more sense for you and give you more control over the data you need to fuel your company’s growth.

Control of Your Data—From Reporting to Business Intelligence Insights

There was a time when the concepts of BI and data warehouse were nearly synonymous. However, end-to-end BI platforms have changed this. And, in some cases, eliminated the need for a traditional data warehouse altogether.

A data warehouse functions as a single layer in your BI stack. Data is processed by an ETL, then stored in your data warehouse, and finally organized and visualized in your BI layer.

This method is perfect for storing petabytes of data and handling massive transforms or querying years of historical data. But from the standpoint of a single business user, it limits your control.

Working with a data warehouse is a less user-friendly method for managing your data. If you’ve been working directly with your data sources in the past and are familiar with the way they report, a data warehouse creates a kind of smokescreen between your raw data and data that’s undergone ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) in your warehouse.

Because of this, you can only execute very specific types of analysis. If you need to ask new questions or process new types of data, it can take significant time to update your data warehouse and make new queries or data visualizations possible.

With an end-to-end tool, there’s no divide imposed between your raw data and normalized data by a data warehouse. You can perform ETL tasks and visualize data all in one platform, allowing you to pivot quickly to create new datasets if needs be.

And instead of having to use a coding language to access your data, end-to-end BI solutions often have more user-friendly point-and-click tools, allowing even less technical roles on your team to work with the data they need to better inform their strategies.

An end-to-end BI solution can also query your data sources when you want to find specific data instances other than the ones that are reported on your dashboard. Both ETL and querying can be performed directly using familiar drag-and-drop or point-and-click tools.

Not only does opting for an end-to-end BI solution provide you with more direct control over your data, but it also allows you to provide varying levels of access and control to other individuals across your company.

Spend Time in Data, Not in Code

In any system, whether a data warehouse or an end-to-end BI solution, you should have an experienced data analyst managing transforms, creating datasets, building metrics, and gaining insights.

Your data analyst shouldn’t be responsible for coding your platform to give you access to dashboards—you should have the ability.

BI solutions that require a data warehouse are much more complex. They’re intended to handle a large amount of data in a variety of formats, and inform complicated queries in a custom BI visualization tool. Navigating a custom system will require some level of coding, which creates a technical expertise barrier. When non-technical business users need to query or access the data, they’ll need to request reports through your analysts.

You don’t want to have to rely on your data analyst to connect systems or design custom data visualizations or dashboards—you want a system that makes it easy for you to do those things directly. You want to spend your time actually looking at the data instead of trying to figure out how to access it and present it.

Access to Real-Time Data Fuels Your Growth

In terms of access to real-time data, an end-to-end BI system is also more friendly than a system that depends on a data warehouse. You don’t have to wait for data to go through the pipeline—by connecting your data sources directly to your BI solution your visualizations will be updated as soon as your data sources are.

The last thing you want is for the system that’s supposed to make your job easier to, instead, introduce a new level of dependency.

With a BI solution, you can set up a system that can allow employees to access and utilize the data without jeopardizing your analyst’s or your IT team’s time.

End-To-End BI is Built to be User-Friendly

An end-to-end BI platform allows you to connect all your structured and unstructured data sources, transform your data, create reports and visualizations and share data across your teams from a single point without requiring extensive coding or technical skills.

You want a user-friendly solution that makes your job easier, not harder. You can simplify your work process and avoid the data warehouse by utilizing a BI solution.

Have a question about our blog post? Feel free to tweet us or you can ask us your question in the chat box on the right! Interested in seeing the difference an end-to-end BI system can make for your growing company? Give Grow a try.

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