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Warehouse Data Editing: Ensure Accurate Data While Maintaining Strong Governance

Joe Goldberg

Director of Product Marketing, Sigma

We are excited to announce Warehouse Data Editing (WDE), a new and unique capability that will appeal to both Sigma Administrators and business users. Warehouse Data Editing enables Sigma users to directly edit, or update, existing tables in their Cloud Data Warehouse (CDW) to ensure analytics is done with the most up-to-date and accurate data. No need to build custom applications so business users can edit this data in the CDW; it is easy to do via the Sigma UI. Sigma Administrators have granular control over this capability, including which Sigma users can access what columns in what tables in the CDW, to ensure strong data governance and integrity.

Let’s dive deeper into WDE, including the problem it solves, configuration options, and what it looks like.

The Goal

Essentially all organizations use ETL (Extract Transform Load) tools or streaming technologies to load data from upstream data sources like a CRM, ERP, or marketing system into their CDW. However, many organizations also put into their CDW data that only lives in the CDW and is not ETL’d or streamed in from an upstream data source. For this blog, we will refer to this data as “system-of-record” data. This data is often highly contextual, is joined with other data in the CDW from upstream data sources for richer and better analysis, and is not “overwritten” by automated ETL or streaming data loading jobs.

Organizations with this data have the desire for it to stay up-to-date. And specifically, they want business users, who are the experts in this data, to easily do this updating.

Below is a visual representation of where this “system of record” data resides in the flow of data. It is the lower table within the CDW.

The Problem

Without something like Sigma’s WDE, the options to update data in the “system of record” tables are not ideal. The two main options are:

  • A custom application is needed as an interface for business users to update the table data. Building this custom application can take significant time and money, may have limited functionality and permissions control, may be insecure, and also results in yet another business application needing ongoing maintenance and support.
  • Or, the business users need to involve the CDW or A&BI teams to make all the updates directly in the CDW. This process can potentially take hours or days, and if too lengthy, the business might just give up and stale “system of record” data remains in the CDW, leading to poor analytics and decision making.

Below is a visual representation of the problem. Business users cannot easily edit the “system of record” data.

Sigma Warehouse Data Editing

Sigma’s WDE solves all of this by enabling CDW table edits via an easy-to-use, secure, and governed interface that is incorporated into the Sigma UI. There is now a bi-directional, controlled flow of data between business users and the CDW via the Sigma UI. This capability is unique in the A&BI marketplace today and reflects Sigma’s high degree of innovation and our anticipation of the future analytical needs of our customers.

Below is a visual representation of the Sigma solution with WDE. Business users can now, via the Sigma UI, easily edit the “system of record” data in the CDW.

What Warehouse Data Editing includes

For business users editing table data:

  • An intuitive, spreadsheet-like interface for viewing and editing table data
  • Based on the data being edited, the user can copy/paste data from one table cell to another, and can also directly input free-form text into a cell.
  • The ability to filter data in the table to more quickly get to the rows that need to be edited. This is helpful if a table has many rows and the user just needs to get to a small subset of them to edit them.
  • The ability to reset edits/changes made to a table before saving them to the CDW. This would be in case of a data editing error.

For Administrators:

  • Control over specifically which tables and columns in which CDWs are editable, and who can edit them.
  • The ability to create “limited input options” on a per-column basis to limit and control what data, and in what format, can be edited. For example, trying to edit a value in a column with dates could present to the user a calendar date picker that the user would have to select from (see screenshot further below).
  • Audit columns to see which user last changed what data and when.

For more detailed information on the permission and configuration options for WDE that need to be made in both Sigma and the CDW, see the documentation for Administrators and Users.

This is the WDE Table Configuration page an Administrator would use. Note the ability to select which columns are editable.

This is the Permissions page an Administrator would use to control which Sigma users can do what to a specific table.

This is an example of what it looks like from the end user perspective when editing a time value in an editable table.

Benefits

Warehouse Data Editing enables a range of benefits to the Administrator and business user:

  • Business users are delighted because they can quickly update this system-of-record data in a self-service manner to ensure it is accurate and better decisions are made.
  • The CDW and A&BI teams do not have to spend time and money updating this data nor building custom applications to enable business users to self-update data.
  • Administrators can rest easy knowing they have granular control on where and how WDE is used so the integrity and accuracy of data in the CDW is maintained.

If you are a Sigma administrator and have the need for Warehouse Data Editing, log into your account now to set it up and start using it. Get the most out of your data and users with Sigma!

Have a question? Reach out to your Sigma account representative, or email us at support@sigmacomputing.com


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