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Let’s face it: the modern business world is becoming more data-centric by the minute. So much so that data is now at the heart of every business decision we make, from identifying the suitable applicants to interview for a vacant position to highlighting the perfect consumers who would be most likely to buy a new product.
However, it turns out that we humans have a pretty good talent for generating data. In fact, it is estimated that each human being generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day. That probably has something to do with the 306.4 billion emails and the 500 million Tweets we send each day.
With that in mind, the most daunting challenge for companies isn’t gathering new data; it’s finding out how to successfully dig through their vast data stores and determine what’s relevant and what’s not. If you own a company and want to get the most out of your data, you need to be able to filter, analyze, and retrieve your data as required, which is much easier said than done.
Furthermore, businesses who discover opportunities to incorporate their data into their everyday business processes will achieve a significant competitive edge over their competitors by providing real-time data to their workers (such as sales, marketing teams, and data analysts) who can also leverage it to increase productivity and internal analytics performance.
What is a cloud data warehouse?
Due to the copious amounts of data that companies must deal with, cloud data warehouses offer an excellent solution to their data storage problems and come with a wide array of valuable functions that enhance a business’s ability to make more accurate bottom-line decisions.
To provide a simple explanation, a data warehouse is a repository that holds current and historical data from a number of input sources. These sources can be both internal and external to the business and in just about any data format. However, rather than just act as a storage facility for your information, a cloud data warehouse will organize historical, operational, and transactional data for analytical use. This aids in the improvement of business intelligence and the creation of new strategic plans and gives you the ability to make data-driven decisions regularly.
Cloud vs. legacy systems
In the past, many companies were priced out of having a data warehousing facility before the cloud came along. That’s primarily because if you wanted one for your business, you had to pay to get a physical system built on the premises, and it’s fair to say the price tag wasn’t for the faint-hearted. In fact, you had to pay for a whole bunch of different things before you could even crunch one bit of data, such as:
- Engineers to set up the infrastructure
- Hardware and server software license
- Storage fees
- Development, testing, and staging, and production
- Data engineers and managers to oversee maintenance.
To make matters worse, traditional data warehouses weren’t always the best in terms of speed and security, which means that the cost-benefit ratio for building a data warehouse wasn’t all that attractive to small-medium-sized business owners. For example, an average business using one terabyte of storage would have had to pay an estimated $450,000 for installation, storage, software, and staff for just one year. Ouch!
The benefits of the cloud
Fortunately for business owners all around the world, the cloud has opened the floodgates for data warehousing providers to deliver cheap and affordable solutions to organizations of all sizes, meaning that being able to analyze your data is no longer an exclusive club.
Better yet, the cloud provides various improvements over on-premises legacy systems, such as:
- Improved scalability
- No installation fees or maintenance
- Improved speed
- Improved security
- Improved access and integration
- Better disaster recovery
Furthermore, one of the most appealing aspects of cloud data warehousing is the freedom to only pay for the services that you need. In the past, you had to pay for traditional data databases 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This meant the servers were operating at all hours of the day and night, even though no data had to be accessed or processed. Of course, this is sub-optimal, and it resulted in a significant amount of lost time and costs.
Thankfully, your energy use costs are reduced when you use the cloud, and you will normally find a flexible contract for a supplier that allows you to only pay for the services you use.
Businesses depend on data more than ever before. With data stores growing at an unprecedented pace, owners must figure out how to organize and filter their data efficiently. Cloud data warehouses are ideal for this because they provide employees with real-time data that is simple to retrieve and analyze as needed. Furthermore, due to advanced business analytics, you can incorporate this data directly into your business processes so that your sales, marketing, product, and support staff have all access to the most reliable data available.