The right tools for the job

Businesses all need a single source of truth. What is the technology you should be looking at to achieve this though?

Your CRM (eg Salesforce), ERP (eg Dynamics), finance platform (eg Xero) and BI solution (eg Tableau) will all claim to be able to fulfil this purpose. Use the inbuilt connectors, push data from all of your sources into one of the aforementioned platforms. Easy!

Now, I really can’t emphasise this strongly enough – I’m going to try bold CAPITALS…


It will not work. It never works. Entire industries have sprung up to implement Salesforce, MS Dynamics etc. Blood-sucking consultancy fees and multi-year engagements are commonplace to get these systems in place – entirely unnecessarily.

Set it up right

This is a case of using the right tool for the job. Clean your teeth with a toothbrush, not a hairbrush. Use a screwdriver not a hammer for those screws. Open your champagne with a sabre…you get the idea.

Your CRM, ERP and finance system are all data sources that need to feed data into a data warehouse. Your BI solution is the presentation layer and should form part of your analysis tooling. However, this plugs into your data warehouse, not the source data directly.

Why though?

These operational systems are good at what they do. Capturing finance, resource and customer communication data is the express purpose of systems like Xero, Netsuite and Salesforce. Likewise, Tableau, Looker and PowerBI are designed specifically to allow analysts to examine, explore and visually represent data.

To truly unlock the value of the data from all of these systems, significant processes need to be created. These processes extract, store, clean, model, blend and govern the data such that reporting and analysis can be performed.

The only place to do this is in a data warehouse.

Putting this additional load on your operational systems, with their specific backend data infrastructure and storage is like reaching for that hammer when what you need is a screwdriver (the tool, not the drink, although both work for this analogy!)

Cloud data warehouses like Redshift and Snowflake are built for this. is built to make that warehousing easy.

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