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Discover What You Don’t Know with a Modern Data Warehouse
April 24, 2020 Blog


Imagine this scene: a company board meeting; a nervous sales director tries to explain why his sales promotion didn’t yield the expected increase in revenue. “I don’t understand. Last time we ran this promotion, customers loved it”, he responded.



Attention turns to the business analyst, who offers some insight. “This time, we ran the promotion in the Philippines. We analysed social chatter from the day of the launch and found that the peso exchange rate was down and the NBA season had just started. From the chatter, it seems our Filipino customer base loves the NBA, so foot traffic was down. And due to the exchange rate, the special promotion price didn’t have the same impact.”


People Don’t Know What They Don’t Know, But Data Does.

The sales director in the example above might have known the demographics of his customers; He may even have had the foresight to check the currency exchange rate. Still, if he didn’t know about the Philippines’ love of the NBA, there is no way he could have factored that into his decision on when to run his sales promotion. Right?

Wrong. The modern data warehouse makes it entirely possible to know what you don’t know.

Looking back, traditional data warehouses were built to manage and analyse enormous data sets. However, they were architected to answer questions you already knew you wanted to ask and about data you already knew you were going to collect.  Today, this is not enough.

Now, there exists a greater urgency for us to find hidden patterns in data. We typically don’t know what we are looking for until we find it, and the quantity and variety of data sources we collect continues to grow. Hence, modernising the data warehouse is critical.

David Dichmann , Cloudera’s Director of Product Marketing, encapsulates this when he explains that “To know what we don’t know, we need to ask a lot of questions over and over again until we can get to the nuggets of truth.”


So, What Do We Need in a Modern Data Warehouse To Find That Unseen Knowledge?

Embrace Hybrid and Multi-Cloud – This ensures less time managing the data warehouse and more time analysing data. It facilitates the pooling of previously isolated computing environments and allows you to quickly deliver computing resources to demanding workloads when required. Hybrid and multi-cloud data warehouses give you that capability at your fingertips.



Ingest More Data Than Ever Before –This is not just about more data; It’s about handling increasingly rapid data churn and ingesting a huge variety of data types. From emails, documents, log files, social media data through to structured database information and even multimedia content.


Democratise Data to Make It More Accessible to More People – The modern organisation needs to put insight and analysis into the hands of more people. Often, this means adding users with little or no technical knowledge and connecting them to ever more sophisticated use cases. Modern data warehouse platforms incorporate self-service capabilities to make this happen. In addition, due to country regulations and company policies, it’s important to ensure that the guardrails are in place so these additional users don’t have access to data they aren’t supposed to have. A modern data warehouse provides a comprehensive and consistent security, governance, and control framework.


Contextualise the Search – Ingesting emails and documents requires more than just indexing the metadata. Whether it’s analytics for compliance, prediction or sentiment you need to index the complete content of these data formats and do so at scale. Finding the answers to things you don’t know may be hidden in the small print. A modern data warehouse should have the tools to analyse all content, not just the metadata.


Ad-Hoc Analytics – As Cloudera’s David Dichmann states, you need to ask lots of questions to uncover the hidden answers. In fact, you need to ask lots of questions just to uncover the next question you need to ask. Ad-hoc analytics allows your line of business users to dig deep by asking multiple one-time questions until they uncover the hidden insights.


The World Has Moved On, And So Has the Data Warehouse.

For sales directors pulling together that next sales promotion, ignorance is no longer an excuse. Those that have access to a data warehouse, collaborate with their data teams and are enabled with self-service analytics to feed their inquisitive minds, will be the ones more likely to succeed