Monday, July 14, 2008

Data Warehousing Optional

In my previous post, Sea Change in BI, I briefly mentioned an article by Colin White, Is Data Warehousing Essential to Business Intelligence? I'd like to highlight a few of the key parts here.

Colin reminds us of the reasons why data warehouses were introduced in the first place:
  1. the data was not usually in a suitable form for reporting
  2. the data often had quality issues
  3. decision support processing degraded business transaction performance
  4. data was often dispersed across many different systems
  5. there was a general lack of historical information
"Data warehousing was introduced to help solve these data and performance issues. While there is no question that data warehousing helped improve business decision making, it is important to realize, nevertheless, that it was introduced primarily to solve design issues in business transaction systems, and also for performance reasons."

"... at present, business intelligence is synonymous with data warehousing. This thinking is wrong and needs to be changed. Data warehousing is a component of business intelligence, but business intelligence may employ data in other data stores. In some cases, a BI application may not even use data managed in a data warehouse."

"Another issue is that people have forgotten that data warehousing was created to overcome deficiencies in business transaction systems. Many of these issues are now solvable."

"The bottom line is that data warehousing is still an important component of business intelligence, but it is no longer the foundation on which all BI projects have to be built."

It is very encouraging to hear this kind of pragmatic approach from an analyst.

No comments: