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4 Reasons for a Scalable Data Warehouse

Posted by Nate Wentzlaff on Oct 13, 2014 10:48:00 AM

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Four Reasons for a Scalable Data Warehouse

Scalable data warehouse architecture is vital for the Credit Union Movement.  It gives credit unions the ability to flexibly change and add data to their data warehouse (DW).  With a constant flood of technological innovations and regulatory changes, credit unions are continually being bombarded by new data requirements.  Regulators, business executives, IT and other stakeholders are constantly requiring deeper analyses of the data residing within the credit union.  As software companies are able to process increasing amounts of data, credit unions have access to enormous amounts of data.  However, this influx of data can be disastrous if the DW within the credit union is not built to accommodate future changes and growth.  In order to fulfill the limited number of reporting goals that were detailed in the initial requirements, many organizations build a DW with only the present in mind.  It is human nature to fix a present situation without considering future needs.  However, with insight from data warehousing and BI professionals, envisioning the DW scalability necessary for the future advancements is possible.  If credit unions want to remain competitive and continue to propel their mission, they will need to take their DW architecture seriously. 
Four major reasons that a credit union will need scalable DW architecture are:
 
  1. Adding new source systems
As new databases enter the marketplace, a credit union data warehouse with scalable architecture will be able to seamlessly add and integrate them into their DW.  In a relational database model, tables are built with primary keys to allow integration with new data.  This is one way that a scalable DW can link new data around common attributes.  Credit union members are given a member number and other distinct attributes that can be integrated across source systems through primary keys.  Also, having a scalable DW gives IT better direction in preparing and maintaining new databases because they will know which attributes must remain the same in the new database for enabling integration with the DW.
 
  1. Replacing a source system
Credit unions will eventually want to change source systems.  Without a scalable DW, the decision to replace a source system used to build the original DW will result in a major project to change the DW design.  If a scalable DW is originally built, credit unions will be able to replace source systems as often as needed without losing the historical data produced by the source system.  A DW captures and stores data in a separate location than the source system.  When the source systems are replaced with new ones, it will simply take re-mapping to make sure the same fields are being filled in with the new data.  The DW will not need a complete redesign.
 
  1. Regulatory data requirements
As the NCUA and other regulatory agencies continue tightening data requirements, the data residing within a credit union will remain the biggest target.  Regulators want to know that the appropriate data is being stored, secured and managed by the credit union to ensure that it will continue making decisions to strengthen the institution.  Building a scalable DW will grant credit unions the ability to prepare for these regulatory changes.
 
  1. Continuous innovation from user community
A strong user community is essential for all successful software solutions.  A DW is no different.  Having a strong user community for the DW will drive innovation.  As users pour in new requests for data, many will be for data elements that are currently not in the DW.  With a scalable DW architecture, credit unions will be able to meet the user requests with upgrades to the DW instead of a complicated, expensive and dangerous redesign of the DW.
Adaptation through DW scalability
 
            As data within the Credit Union Movement continues to grow, the challenges of data integration will continue to mount.  Through careful planning and DW architecture design, a DW can be built to allow scalability.  With the ability to add new databases and make changes to the architecture, a scalable DW will give credit unions the ability to adapt and grow without the constraints of a rigid DW design.   Redesigning the DW is not a risk many organizations are willing to take.  Therefore, a scalable design is essential.  The ability to adapt for the future, when economic factors are becoming increasingly more chaotic, will be a key competency for credit unions.
 
Article written by: Nate Wentzlaff, Business Analyst at OnApproach
 
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