A small business operating today has probably heard about the importance of big data. Information has become a critical tool and companies that don’t put their data to work are going to be at a disadvantage.
No matter the size of a business, most operations can profit from implementing a data warehouse into their infrastructure. If a company is looking to adopt new technology or upgrade their ERP services, they should explore the benefits a data warehouse provides.
When is an ERP data warehouse necessary?
As companies become more successful, they begin to outgrow old systems. A data warehouse is a flexible tool that supports growth and streamlines processes.
Small businesses should look for new software as soon as they experience growing pains. TechAdvisory.org shared some of the signs indicating a company needs a data warehouse. If a company is over-reliant on spreadsheets overwhelmed by ever-increasing information needs, it must update its data reporting and collecting capabilities. A centralized information platform should be implemented when communication between departments is too slow for the speed of business. Reports and charts can start to show major discrepancies if they have to pass through numerous channels and be re-entered multiple times.
An ERP data warehouse is a tool utilized by the entire small business. All data created during operations is uploaded to the centralized source and visible to all users granted access to the software. An ERP software solution like Microsoft Dynamics GP captures information created by sales, marketing, inventory, production and distribution and displays it in the business’s warehouse.
How to prevent a data garage
Once the information is collected by the system, it’s up to the business to put it to use. InFocus, a global service blog, warned companies against letting their data warehouse become a data garage.
According to InFocus, a data garage is when a company captures information from operations but doesn’t put it to use. The small business is not receiving the optimal ROI for its software implementation because it is not using all the features available. ERP solutions can create automated systems within the warehouse that streamline processes and eliminate needless busywork. The data can be analyzed to guide decision-making and future business practices.
InfoWorld said small businesses need to reorganize to respond to real-time data reporting. When working with a software partner, a company should inquire into which ERP software capabilities would be right for its daily practices. If implementation is performed correctly, a small business can use a data warehouse as a working part of operations, as opposed to a disorganized collection of information.
Cloud-deployed data warehouses
Modern companies have an important question to consider when implementing new technologies: Should they put their data operations in the cloud?
If a company is creating a data warehouse, it may want to place it on a cloud-deployed platform that features almost limitless storage space. Wired suggested some small businesses are operating with outdated conceptions of the cloud. Hosting information off-site is a time-tested practice that provides online convenience and saves companies money on hardware. The cloud is much more secure than its reputation has led some business owners to believe. Cloud server operators make security a priority and often have more experience than traditional company IT employees.
Companies might be better served by on-site data warehouses if they have business practices that come down to microseconds or truly cannot trust other professionals with business data. Small businesses constructing their first data warehouse should talk with their ERP partner about the advantages of the cloud vs. an information platform that is hosted on site.