The Data Warehouse is a storage facility. One with open control to design your own database tables, then feed them with whatever data you need or want!
Early in our process of thinking about a data warehouse for credit unions, a question was justifiably posed – “What are we/they even going to put in this thing?”. Through a long period of refining the idea, the fundamental concepts come down to these:
Import, store, and analyze non-core data within the core.
Preserve lists or data sets from the core that would otherwise be purged and unavailable for future analysis.
Stock custom-designed data tables that expand or create new coding systems or labels to improve queries and reports.
Collect specialty, analysis-based data sets available within the core that aren’t possible to have without this space to hold them.
The common theme running through these strategies? Analysis. It is not a warehouse for storing disaster recovery files. It is not a warehouse for storing ages and ages of historical archives over all of time.
As a warehouse for controlling and managing data intended for analysis, remember that the warehouse itself is always simply the storage facility. The infrastructure. The tools, brains, and time it takes to analyze is up to the analyst!
How do I make money from storing data?
You don’t. Data at rest is just bits and bytes. What you do is you use it to ASAP (Ask. See. Act. Profit). Linking formerly siloed data sets together begins to bridge knowledge gaps, improve reports, and enable new opportunities for identifying leads on members to engage (or re-engage).
You store data in the best location to make a meaningful analysis possible. You make money when you use and manage the Data Warehouse and any data inside it to your best advantage.
How do I save money from storing data?
Saving money in this sense isn’t about discounts on the price you pay for storage space. Consider a scenario with me for a minute – Vendor Z wants a collection of files sent to them from various sources of member data you have available – the core, a CRM, loan decisioning software, website analytics, etc. from the core on a daily or monthly basis. The vendor is an aggregator who can normalize all the separate data sets for you, maybe apply some proprietary analysis “secret” and/or produce some proprietary “product” as a deliverable.
Yet you look at it and sometimes wonder why you pay Vendor Z so much and work so hard to centralize and analyze all this data that you already have access to on your own (core data, web analytics data, etc). If only you could link these few non-core data files into the core itself.
Really. Why move all the core data somewhere else? Why not instead move other data into the core and take matters into your own hands? Then – Cut the cord on that vendor contract.
Disclaimer 1: Don’t go cord-cutting before planning takes place – Internal routines, a schedule for processing imports, a roadmap for analysis, etc. You’re committing someone’s time (or training someone) to take this in-house and need it to be set up for success.
Disclaimer 2: Not every vendor relationship is a good candidate for this type of “consolidation of resources”.
Build your strategy for data storage within the core
The scenarios above are only the high-level ideas – how do actually plan to use a space where you can store any data you like within the core? You may wish to create or validate a different use-case!
I know one credit union who is building a plan for their marketing person to use it for storage of their contact lists to use for scrubbing out of future contact lists plus longer ROI tracking throughout the year of 2019.
In their case yes, they’ll be analyzing it. But they aren’t centralizing all the work and value on a dedicated analyst’s role. Instead, a specific department has found a way they’d love to use and they are driving that forward!
Mission accomplished. Let’s go!
For the Asterisk Intelligence team, building and offering a Data Warehouse for credit unions on the CU*BASE core has been a huge goal of ours over the past few years. Reaching this point where it’s available and ready to be used by credit unions with a vision to manage data better for analysis… it’s humbling and amazing. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it wasn’t built by one person either. Many fine programmers and critical thinkers in our network have worked to produce and refine the Data Warehouse in CU*BASE.
Enjoy the freedom of a you-defined storage space in the core, and dive in!