Do You Need A Data Warehouse Yet?

As you already know, data warehouses are complex systems that pull data from a variety of sources to be housed and analyzed in one central location. These analyses are then used to fuel the majority of high-impact business decisions. However, while data warehouse tools are considered to be a core component of business intelligence for many companies, they also come at a steep cost, both in price and valuable resources.

As recently as ten years ago, data warehouses weren’t simply the best option for data collection and analysis—they were the only option. Luckily that’s not the case anymore. In many instances, business intelligence platforms are equipped with enough features to meet (and even surpass) the majority of your growing company’s data needs.

In fact, depending on the stage of your company, you may have the option to forgo a traditional data warehouse altogether in favor of BI tools, helping you to save both money and resources. 

Simply put, a robust, end-to-end, BI platform can provide an effective solution for data management while you’re still growing.

Measuring Your Data Maturity

It’s pretty easy to figure out if you need actually need data warehouse, or if a BI platform will function as an adequate solution. 

To determine this, the first thing you’ll need to do is measure your company’s stage of growth, to help growing businesses answer this question, Grow’s BI customer success managers developed a unique data maturity model.

The Grow Maturity Model is designed to help you track your data maturity through six stages: Pre-Data, Data Familiar, Early, Moderate, Advanced, and Expert. 

Below is a brief overview of each of these stages, to help you gain a better understanding of your current position.

  1. Pre-Data: Your business goals are unclear and undocumented. Perhaps these goals are non-specific, have no set metrics, are not widely known and may not even be written down.
  1. Data Familiar: You vaguely recognize a need to start meeting specific goals in order to keep momentum, but interdepartmental communication is poor, leading to lack of company-wide understanding. Data gathering and measuring is not done on a consistent basis.
  1. Early: You have defined, documented business goals and are tracking some process toward them. Everyone in the company is aware of these goals, but data analysis is random and inconsistent. Progress is not available in real time.
  1. Moderate: Your business goals are documented, regularly reviewed and reported often. Each department is in communication with the others and shares common goals, with individual teams assigned unique goals that support these objectives.
  1. Advanced: Your goals are clear and can be forecasted based on past performance. You’re keeping up with your data to track progress and report on it regularly. Throughout the company, your team goals are clearly aligned.
  1. Expert: Your goals and corresponding data guide all company decisions. Everyone has access to a dashboard with information about progress toward company goals and KPIs, allowing individuals to track progress at the personal, team, department, and company-wide level in real time.

Ask yourself, which stage sounds the most like your current situation? If your answer is anywhere from pre-data to moderate, you likely don’t need a data warehouse at this point. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Thoughtful handling of your data can help you progress your maturity, but in the meantime, you should be able to effectively use BI for your data needs.

Can business intelligence platforms really replace a data warehouse?

The short answer? Absolutely. 

However, if your company is completely dependent on data for both macro and micro-decision-making, a data warehouse may still be your best bet. 

If you’re a data newbie, or a moderately data mature company, business intelligence applications could be an ideal fit.

Of course, all companies should be aware of their basic data needs: to access their multiple data sources, extract, load and transform their data, and then see their data. However, there’s no reason to over-exert your budget by paying for services you don’t actually need.

Data warehouses are commonly used primarily for combining data from one or more sources, reducing load on operational systems, tracking historical changes in data and providing a single source of truth.

Today’s BI applications can provide solutions for almost all of those uses by:

  • Pulling data from multiple sources. Many BI platforms integrate with a variety of software and tools into one platform.
  • Establishing a single source of truth. BI systems enable your entire organization to measure data in the same way, allowing you to create a single, common truth to use as you coordinate cross-department teams and functions. 
  • Optimizing data into dashboards for easy reporting. Dashboards allow individuals and teams to assess progress on several different levels, enabling effective course correction and company-wide motivation.
  • Providing full-funnel analytics for every aspect of your company. Your company’s funnel is unique, and BI can help you map every part of it to ensure you can spot influencing trends and patterns.
  • Being easily shareable throughout the company. One of the largest benefits of coupling a BI solution with your data is the power to quickly share visually detailed and digestible reports across your organization. 

Sounds pretty comprehensive, right? The truth is that although BI may not cater to every data scenario, it can certainly meet the needs of most growing companies.

Grow gives you the power of many data warehouse tools at the BI cost

If you’re having a difficult time deciding what BI systems to use to manage your data, it’s time to give Grow a try. 

Grow gives you the power to blend data from various sources and build beautiful, up-to-the-minute visuals so you can see the trends that matter most. It’s user friendly, a breeze to connect to your essential apps and completely customizable for your individual needs. 

If you’re looking to

  • Grow your company through effective data management
  • Reduce churn and drive advocacy
  • Increase performance visibility
  • Forecast goals
  • Improve company motivation

...then Grow is the solution. 

Want to learn more? Request a demo or start your free trial today!

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