What Is Data Warehousing? Its Uses and Applications for Managers

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Many corporations are experiencing significant business benefits of using data warehouse technology. Users report gains in market competitiveness through increased revenue and reduced costs through information management. Data warehousing is thus a major issue within most organizations, and thus the development of a data warehouse with a strong base is essential. This paper aims to present the important concepts of Data Warehousing such as Data Warehousing tools and the benefits of Data Warehousing, that a manager must understand in order to execute a successful Data Warehousing project in his/her company.

Keywords: Data Warehouse Technology, Market Competitiveness, Data Warehousing tools, benefits of Data Warehousing, Data warehousing applications, Data warehousing platforms.

Data warehousing
It has become a strategic imperative for corporations to know more about its customers and prospects than ever before. Corporations are competing in a world that is moving faster, and in more directions, than at any time in history. The need for information is growing at an increasing rate thus, the more we know, the more we need to know. Where once it was the job of the information technologist to study customer data; now-a-days even the president of the company may need to sieve through the databases of the corporation to retrieve clues for better marketplace performance. (Rolleigh and Thomas, 2002) The importance of data warehousing in the commercial segment arises from the need for enterprises to gather all of their information into a single place for in-depth analysis, and the desire to decouple such analysis from online transaction processing systems. (Wisdom, 1995) But this isn't an easy endeavor. Before people can get ready access to data, and be able to make meaningful analysis of it, a lot of behind-the-scenes groundwork must be done. It is insane to just go out and have your information technology organization buy a data warehouse. If any corporation does take such an action it will undoubtedly join the ranks of many big-name corporations that have made humongous investments that have failed to provide any return on investment (ROI). If a company does indeed want to succeed with data warehousing, it has to build cross-organizational consensus and support for a way of business that is empowered by real customer data. And then the warehouse has to be tailored for the specific requirements of the company, this means a lot of careful, tedious and time-consuming steps are required. (Rolleigh and Thomas, 2002) Let's look at what goes into creating a rich data warehouse, and what we need to know about it. This paper will first introduce the concept of data warehouse in a simple straightforward manner followed by the major components of a data warehouse and the various structures of a data warehouse. The paper will then follow on by presenting the data warehousing methodologies. And finally it will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of data warehousing ending with the conclusion. What is a data warehouse?

Data warehousing is a concept. It is a set of hardware and software components that can be used to better analyze the massive amounts of data that companies are accumulating to make better business decisions. Bill inmon widely considered as the 'father' of data warehousing describes it as: "a subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant, non-volatile collection of data in support of management's decision -making process" This implies that within a warehouse, the data will be organized by entity (such as customer or product) rather than application (sales or purchase), that both current and historical, time stamped data will be present and that once stored in the warehouse it cannot be changed (davis et al, 1999) (Figure.1)

However, a simple definition of data warehouse, as Ralph Kimball puts it, is “(a) data warehouse is a copy of...
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