An Operational Data Store (ODS) offers a consolidated view of all current data and related transactions. It has the advantage of being light and fast, unlike a data warehouse, and can consolidate data from different sources and systems as well as different locations.
Any number of data stores can be integrated to create an ODS. It is usually built on the specific functional requirements of a business to help with analysis and reporting.
Access comprehensive data
An operational data store provides a business with current data from many sources in one place. Previously isolated or inefficient communicating IT systems feed into a consolidated repository. Reporting can therefore be more sophisticated and offer a consolidated view of data, unlike reports from the individual underlying systems.
An ODS provides current, integrated operational data for day-to-day functioning. Operational data may include information about customers, suppliers or finances. It may also include labor statistics. Data about customers, for instance, can help marketers to create consumer profiles that help with everything from creating their products to advertising and distributing them.
Labor data helps with being able to improve productivity. Access to operational financial data can help them to pick up vendor errors, budget variances and much more to gain more financial control.
Report more accurately
Operational reporting is a results-driven way to track, measure and analyze regular deliverables and metrics of a business, usually on a daily or weekly basis. For example, businesses need to manage warehouse operations efficiently and access to real-time information, such as shipping times and frequency, makes this possible. This allows warehouse managers to troubleshoot any issues and respond to them quickly.
An ODS may be updated as frequently as every hour and the more frequent the updates, the closer the results are to ‘real-time.’ For example, an ODS used by an airline carrier may be updated frequently. It could use flight tracking data to establish which planes were on time or late. Using baggage tracking data, it could look at transportation rates of baggage at different times of the day and report on this.
Make better operational decisions
An ODS can support business intelligence (BI) tools that help with operational decision-making. Business Intelligence allows organizations to access information that is critical to success in many areas, including marketing, sales and finance.
An ODS allows for the uncomplicated querying of a small quantity of data. As incoming data overwrites previous data, queries only reveal a snapshot of the latest data. This enables a business to make better operational decisions.
Online stores have several different systems, from billing systems that record customer information and transaction systems that track customer purchases. Users are able to query the ODS for a comprehensive live operational view.
For example, they may want to know how much of a certain product was bought within a certain time frame. This could help with the decision to order more stock or not. It may be possible to spot trends in buyer behavior and make adjustments accordingly.
Posing the right queries may lead to improving a customer’s sales lifecycle, cutting down on warehouse costs and making supply chain improvements.
Diagnose and fix problems quickly
Having an up-to-date view of operational status makes it easier for users to diagnose problems. Service representatives, for example, can find a customer order, determine its status, and more without having to go into component systems.
For example, a user might create an order on an e-commerce system and an integration error could result in a corresponding order not appearing in the logistics system.
As the ODS holds both data versions, it is easy to compare the data from both systems and fix the problem. The ODS facilitates less total turnaround time when problems occur and this means far less stress on the business.
Get access to real-time data
With convenient access to real-time data, businesses can monitor customer activity and target them more effectively. When customer information is available in real-time, it is possible to track the progress of promotional campaigns and make them easier to refine.
Offering custom-tailored experiences is possible when businesses have a 360-degree view of every customer. They are quickly able to determine what is working and what isn’t when marketing to them. Besides monitoring customer activity, convenient access to real-time data enables tracking orders, managing inventory and much more.
Ultimately, access to real-time data makes businesses more adaptable and responsive, resulting in improved output and profitability.
Open up reporting to more people
Must-have business technologies include security software to deal with standard threats like viruses, data hacks and malware. Access to the systems of record of a business is usually restricted to a few users because of such threats. An ODS opens up reporting to more people within an organization.
It is a secure option because it does not contain all the historical data and operations and is therefore resilient to hacking of data or cyber-attacks.
Set up time-sensitive business rules
In an ODS, data is cleaned to avoid repetition or junk, validated for redundancy and systematic rules can be set by the business. Data changes in one system can trigger an action in another system.
For example, An ODS can automatically notify a financial institution that a customer has an overdrawn account or alert an authorization system at a credit card provider to take action if there’s suspicious activity on a credit card.
As the ODS is primarily used to support operational business functions, the rules must be implemented in such a way that the ODS maintains the comprehensive level of detailing a business needs for business functions to be executed.
Today, most businesses are aware of the need for proper data management and analytics to support their business practices aimed at further growth. The ODS offers current, integrated operational data to help with their daily operations. Creating reports and analysis using results from the ODS enables better business decision-making practices.