Data Warehouse Modernisation: What's Your Strategy?

06 January 2020

You’re probably familiar with the saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ This is definitely applicable to modernising your data warehouse. For this project to be successful, you need a carefully planned strategy. 

To define your strategy for a modern data warehouse, there are a few things you should keep in mind: 

  • Your organisation’s data maturity level
  • Your need for real-time data insights
  • The configuration of legacy systems
  • External regulations as well as internal policies 

What Is a Modern Data Warehouse?

modern data warehouse does two things: data processing and serving as storage for analytics programs.

That means that modern data warehouses can process information for analytics as well as store information that will later be used for analytics programs. Knowing how today's data warehouses work helps you shape your strategy.

Your Organisation’s Data Maturity Level

Data maturity refers to how your organisation is using information. There’s a spectrum of data maturity:

  • Business reporting
  • Business intelligence
  • Ad hoc analysis
  • Hybrid centralised data teams
  • Predictive analytics 

Business reporting is the weakest end of the spectrum. Reports are generated from siloed systems of record that aren’t updated frequently enough to provide forward-looking information. Business intelligence, the second stage of data maturity, isn’t a huge improvement; while data sources are aggregated, reports still don’t contain up-to-date information. 

Ad hoc analysis allows you to diagnose problems, and it relies upon data warehousing to store vast amounts of information that will be assessed. Hybrid centralised data teams is the stage at which analysing data is mission-critical for firms – employees depend upon accurate information to do their jobs. In the last stage of the spectrum, predictive analytics helps businesses decide what move they should make next based on the most up-to-the-minute data. A modern data warehouse strategy must support higher levels of data maturity so that your company can gain a competitive advantage from its information.

Your Need for Real-Time Data Insights

When you’re planning your strategy for a modern data warehouse, you also need to consider the importance of real-time data insights. Today, there are a variety of information streams from which you can gain insights in real time. If you’re not taking advantage of them, you’re missing out. 

Some examples of real-time data are IoT sensors, social media feeds, and mobile devices. Those data streams are incredibly valuable; they give you crucial updates about what’s going on this very instant. Your data warehouse should be architected to handle them. 


How Are Your Legacy Systems Configured?

Something else you need to keep in mind when you’re planning your strategy for a modern data warehouse is how your legacy systems are configured. You might be saying, ‘Hang on, the point of modernising my data warehouse is to get rid of legacy systems.’ However, legacy systems contain important data; you can’t discount them completely.

Your modern data warehouse will need to draw whatever information is stored from your legacy storage systems. So, your modern data warehouse must have the capability to connect with legacy systems. Otherwise, you won’t get value out of either your new data warehouse or your legacy systems.

What External Regulations and Internal Policies Require Compliance?

Another point to think about when you’re creating your modern data warehouse strategy is what external (national, international, industry-wide) regulations are relevant? Moreover, does your company have any rules that apply to data (how to migrate it, how to use it, how to analyse it, etc.)?

Ignoring regulations and policies has serious consequences. For a start, you don’t want to be fined because someone’s personal information wasn’t handled according to the rules. Second, hefty legal fines not only cost you money, but they hurt your reputation. Third, your internal rules are there for a reason; they’re meant to protect your company as well as maintain efficient, productive workflows. When you don’t follow those rules, you’re only hurting yourself.

Microsoft Azure: A Linchpin in Your Modern Data Warehouse Strategy

A linchpin in your modern data warehouse strategy should be to use the right technology. Microsoft Azure offers top-of-the-market tools to serve as a robust foundation for your new data warehouse.

Microsoft enables you to build a modern data warehouse based on your needs, such as your data maturity level or your use of legacy systems. You can get started with a cloud or hybrid solution. Microsoft allows you to take advantage of SQL Server performance in a private cloud or as a managed service in MPP architecture in Azure.

Microsoft Azure also offers you real-time insights on your data. You can build and deploy machine learning models on-premises or in the cloud. You can use whatever data science tool you like to analyse information, and you can easily share your assessments with others in your organisation thanks to integration with Power BI and other data visualisation tools.

As for adhering to regulations and internal policies, Microsoft Azure complies with over 50 industry and geographical certifications to keep your information safe and secure. It provides built-in features such as transparent data encryption, audit, threat detection, Azure Active Directory integration, and Azure Virtual Network endpoints. Moreover, Microsoft offers financially-backed SLAs that ensure you don’t experience crippling downtime.

Enlighten Designs: Helping You Formulate Your Modern Data Warehouse Strategy

Enlighten Designs, founded in 1998, is a Hamilton-based digital agency with deep expertise in modern data warehouses. Additionally, we’ve been a Microsoft Partner for 15 years. We’ve achieved Gold status in the categories of Application Development, Data Platform, and Data Analytics.

A modern data warehouse is an investment of time and money, which is why it’s paramount that you have the right strategy in place. Our experience in data platforms and data analytics can help you develop a successful strategy for your modern data warehouse. To learn more about how to get more from your data, download our free webinar today.

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