Author: Carl Richards

Data Warehousing Concepts Explained

Aug 3, 2021 by Carl Richards

Engaging Data Explains:

Data Warehousing Concepts


Modern commerce is an environment in which companies are increasingly being required to make complex, data-backed decisions. Dealing with vast amounts of information has become an essential feature of a business, which can often lead to siloed data. This is difficult enough to store, let alone analyse or understand.

In many cases, business use demands require a more sophisticated system, improving data management and providing a holistic overview of essential aspects of the company. One of the best ways to achieve this is to invest in a data warehouse. Yet, many companies are still unaware of what this entails or how it can help their business.


What is Data Warehousing?

In simple terms, a data warehouse is a system that helps an organisation aggregate data from multiple sources. Instead of experiencing the sort of separation and siloing discussed previously, data warehousing makes it possible to draw together information from disparate sources. It’s almost akin to a universal translator of languages. Typically, data warehouses store vast amounts of historical data, and this can then be utilised by engineers and business analysts as required.

Data warehousing is particularly valuable as it essentially provides joined-up information to a company or organisation. This was quite impossible until relatively recently, as data has always been based on separate sources of information. Transactional systems, relational databases, and operational databases are often held entirely separately, and it was almost unthinkable until recently that the data from the systems could be effectively combined.

But in this Information Age, companies are seeking a competitive advantage via the leveraging of information. By combining the vast amount of data generated together into one source, businesses can better understand and analyse key customer indicators, giving them a real insight into the determining factors of the company. Data warehousing can build more robust information systems from which businesses can make superior predictions and better business decisions.

In recent years, the escalation and popularisation of the cloud has changed the potential of data warehousing. Historically, it was more usual to have an on-premise solution, which would be designed and maintained by a company at its own physical location. But this is no longer necessary. Cloud data architecture makes it possible to data warehouse without hardware, while the cloud structure also makes implementation and scaling more feasible.

Data Lakes

However, those who are uninitiated in deep data topics may encounter terminology that can be somewhat baffling! The concept of a data lake seems rather surreal and tends to conjure up imagery that is, ultimately, completely useless! Inevitably, people who have never encountered the concept of data lakes before find themselves imagining an expanse of azure water glittering in the sunlight. Well, data lakes aren’t quite like that.

A data lake is used for storing any raw data that does not currently have an intended use case. It really can be seen as similar to the wine lakes that used to be in the news quite regularly, but it doesn’t seem to be a talking point any longer! You can equally view a data lake as a surplus of information; it is data that may become useful in the future but does not have an immediate usage at this point in time. Thus, it is stored away in a lake until it can be consumed adequately.

This differs from data warehousing, which is used to deal with information that is known to be useful more efficiently. Data warehousing may deal with data stored in an impenetrable format. Still, there is a clear use case for understanding this information, or it needs to be stored for a particular reason.

When to use a Data Warehouse

There are a variety of reasons that a company or organisation would choose to utilise a data warehouse. The most obvious would be as follows:

  • If you need to start a large amount of historical data in a central location.
  • If you require to analyse your web, mobile, CRM, and other applications together in a single place.
  • If you need more profound business analysis than it has been possible to deliver with traditional analytic tools, by querying and analysing data directly with SQL, for example.
  • In order to allow simultaneous access to a dataset for multiple people or groups.

Data warehousing makes it possible to implement a set of analytical questions that would be impossible to address with traditional data analytics tools. Collecting all of your data into one location and source makes it possible to run queries that would otherwise be completely unfeasible. Instead of asking an analytical program to continually run back and forth, back and forth between several locations, the software can get to grips with one data source and deliver efficient and more holistic results.

Data Warehouse Factors

Many businesses now require data warehousing services to deal with the vast amount of data that is now generated. And that ‘many businesses’ will rapidly become ‘most businesses’, and then ‘virtually all businesses in the near future. But those that are inexperienced in this field are often confused about what factors to take into consideration.

Thus, we would recommend looking at these six key elements when considering warehousing:

  • The sheer scale of data that you wish to store.
  • The type of information that you need to store in the warehouse.
  • The dynamic nature of your scaling requirements.
  • How fast you require any queries to be carried out.
  • Whether manual or automatic maintenance is required.
  • Any compatibility issues with your existing system.

Concerning the first of these factors, data can be somewhat different in terms of its basic structure. Some data may be highly complex, but it can still be quantifiable, easily organised. However, in the era of Big Data there is a vast amount of unstructured data, which cannot be easily managed and analysed. Companies that generate a vast amount of unstructured data and need to collate and understand it are certainly excellent candidates for a data warehousing solution.

There is a lot to learn when it comes to the subject of data. And it can frankly be a little daunting at times. But what is certain is that this topic isn’t going anywhere. Big Data is here to stay. That’s why we have created our Data Vault 2.0 solution. Data Vault can ideally serve your organisations’ data needs when this is becoming an issue of paramount importance.

Big Data and DataVault

May 10, 2021 by Carl Richards

Engaging Data Explains:

Big Data and DataVault


Knowing how and where to find the needle more easily, and where in the specific haystack it resides

Big Data has been a hot potato topic for more than a few years now, and this phenomenon will play a central role in the future of commerce. Collecting, collating and comprehending Big Data will no longer be a matter of commercial interest; it will instead increasingly become a commercial imperative.

It should come as no surprise then that investment in technologies related to Big Data is already becoming almost ubiquitous. A report from NewVantage Partners, which collected executive perspectives from 60 Fortune 1000 companies, found that 97% of them invest in Big Data and AI initiatives. NewVantage also discovered that the vast majority of this investment (84%) was focused on deploying advanced analytics capabilities to enable business decision making.

Big Understatement

And when we use the term ‘Big Data’, it’s reasonable to conclude that ‘big’ is an understatement! For example, in 2018, Internet users generate approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. That’s 912 quintillion bytes every year! And 90% of this data has been generated in just the last five years. The rate of growth and development of this curve is exponential.

Thus, it’s one thing to recognise the importance of Big Data, and quite another to be prepared for it. We’re talking about a veritable avalanche of information! In many cases, utterly unstructured information. Indeed, Forbes noted in 2019 that 95% of businesses cite the need to manage unstructured data as a problem for their business. Which, given the sheer scale of Big Data, is hardly surprising. Making the most of Big Data is not so much searching for a needle in a haystack; more like looking for a needle in a universe entirely comprised of haystacks.

This reality means that implementing the best business intelligence solutions will become essential. Dealing with the sheer volume of Big Data will demand this. And data warehousing is one element of this process that will be critically important. The analytical qualities delivered by this aspect of the overall Big Data management process will prove critical in the success of the efforts of companies to benefit from the information explosion.

Data Vault 2.0

That’s where Data Vault comes in. Data Vault 2.0 comprises a raft of sophisticated architecture and techniques that enable businesses to both store current and historical data in a singular and easily accessible location, along with the ability to create analytics based on this information. Data Vault is effectively a unique design methodology for large scale data warehouse platforms, ensuring that Big Data is dealt with more quickly, more efficiently, and more effectively.

Data Vault offers several advantages over competitors. The first reason for this is that it’s possible to convert any system to Data Vault determinations. This means that existing objects can be translated to Data Vault entities, and every single item will have a corresponding match in the new Data Vault architecture. Every main definition can then be mapped by hubs and every relationship between these via links. This means that the whole operation is more flexible and user-friendly.

Another significant advantage of Data Vault is its enhancement of agility. This is particularly important, as the ability of network software and hardware to automatically control and configure itself makes it easier to deal with the almost unfathomable scope of Big Data.

Smaller Pieces

Data Vault makes it possible to divide a system into smaller pieces, with each individual component available for separate design and development. This means every constituent part of the system can have its own definitions and relationships and that these can be combined at a later date by related mapping. This makes it possible to develop a project steadily yet still see instant results. It also makes managing change requests much more straightforward.

Another asset of the Data Vault approach is that it applies to numerous different systems. This means that separate sources can be transformed into Data Vault entries without any laborious procedures being involved. It is particularly advantageous in the contemporary climate, as almost every enterprise system relies on several different data types from various data sources.

The Data Vault modelling technique is thus adaptable to all types of sources, with a minimum of fuss. This makes it much more feasible to link different data sources together, making analysis more joined-up and holistic. It is well-known that being the entity that is the most adaptable to change is vital across a wide variety of niches, and this applies in the rapidly evolving data analysis environment.

But possibly the most compelling reason to choose Data Vault is that our offering provides companies with a method of standardisation. With Data Vault implemented, companies can standardise their entire DWH system. This standardisation enables members of the company to understand the system more easily, which is undoubtedly advantageous considering the innate complexity of this field.

Meeting the Needs

It is commonplace for complex and sophisticated solutions to be delivered to business users, which nevertheless fail to understand and adapt to the company’s actual requirements in that area. Everyone wants to show off their fancy piece of kit, but often developers aren’t as keen to listen! This can manifest for a variety of reasons. Still, the important thing to note is that Data Vault is designed to meet the requirements of the business, rather than requiring a business to reorganise itself to comply with the needs of the package.

This is important at a time when the dynamic complexity associated with data is escalating. Enterprise data warehouse systems must provide accurate business intelligence and support a variety of requirements. This has become a critical reality in a business marketplace in which the sheer volume of data being generated is overwhelming.

Data Vault solves these problems with a design methodology that is ideal for large scale data warehouse platforms. With an approach that enables incremental delivery and a structure that supports regular evolution over time, Data Vault delivers a standard for data warehousing that elevates the whole industry.

Agile data warehouse development

Jun 5, 2020 by Carl Richards

Agile data warehouse development

One of the most common problems we are approached to resolve is agile data warehouse development. Clients understand the importance of data and building the right data platform to service their businesses needs. Delivering a new or amending a platform at pace is one of the keys in providing true flexibility and enabling change within organisations.

Engaging Data has built data solutions using our three pillars principles – people, process and technology. With a highly-skilled development and consultancy teams, we provide real added value to our clients.

Technology – Picking the right tool for the job

Quick and nimble!

Fantastic partners like WhereScape, enable us to build data platforms in days. Imagine, within the first few days of starting development, the business will have a data platform that they can start interrogating. WhereScape RED allows you to continue developing and amend your data platform without any complications. RED offers several data platform solutions allowing you to choose the right solution for your business.

If you are planning a project to create or alter a data warehouse, data lake, data vault or a combination of all of these, allow us to show you the power of data automation using WhereScape.

Do not just take our word for it, have a look through what our clients are saying.

People

Having the right team

Our services will help will all aspects of data solutions. From the development of a data platform, data model design and visualisation to day to day solution support.

Our design process uses the BEAM (Business Event Analysis & Modelling) methodology. This approach alongside WhereScape 3D provides a quick and effective data platform from the source system to report or visualisation.

Process

Having the right process for your company

Our support services offer a wide range of support levels that give comfort and peace of mind at a cost-effective price.

Achieve the goals you have set out for your data project with our experienced team who can help with your data strategy, governance and SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) processes.

Training

Keep everyone up to date with the latest thinking and methodologies – don’t be afraid to change or try new ideas!

We provide training and support for your data platform & can arrange bespoke training courses for all WhereScape products. In our experience, learning a new tool using familiar data, makes the topic more digestible.

If you would like to read more about WhereScape RED and 3D, please click here.

Looking for help with geo-relational or mapping data. Read more about our partnership with the Ordnance Survey and the products they offer.

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