Here's why more African enterprises need data warehouses

While enterprises increasingly generate massive volumes of data, breaking down silos of information remains a problem. Data warehouses — management systems designed to store large volumes of data for analysis — can be an answer, but they pose some up-front challenges.

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Like their global counterparts, African enterprises are churning out increasing volumes of data from every transaction and customer touchpoint, yet these troves of information are not being as well utilized as they could be, leading to lost opportunities for business intelligence.

One answer to this problem is the data warehouse, essentially a centralized data management system built for analytics and other business intelligence (BI) processes. But while enterprises in Africa and the Middle East are beginning to realize the importance of data collection and analysis,  progress has been slow, according to the recent 2020 State of Data & Analytics MEA, report.

"Going back five years ago, data, being data-driven and especially analytics were kind of a 'nice to have' for companies," Louise de Beer, Head of BI and Data Science at analytics-driven estate agent Leadhome said in the report. "Then, if you look at reports from two years ago, innovators started playing with data as a differentiator. I think where we are now is that data is becoming a hygiene factor. If you don't have it, what are you doing with your business?"

Nevertheless, business leaders are increasingly finding that breaking down silos and centralizing data storage is a challenge, according to the report. The problem ranks second to the poor organizational understanding of the value of data, it stated.

Largely, the responsibility of data collection and analysis has fallen on CIO's laps, though recently companies have been hiring chief data officers to specifically handle data management and warehousing. The increasing emphasis on data analysis is causing enterprises to take a fresh look at how they manage data.

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