Today's Internet-enabled data warehouse environments are multifaceted, multitiered and disseminated. They must support thousands of users with fast response times while maintaining around-the-clock availability. These technological challenges plus economic and competitive pressures have many companies looking to drive corporate performance by incorporating outsourcing solutions into their business strategies. The potential for increased efficiency, reduced cycle time and standardization of processes are just some of the reasons for exploring this alternative. Each outsourcing option offers varying amounts of business process management, software, infrastructure responsibility and risk.

This column examines some of the criteria that can be used to differentiate the various outsourcing options from a technological perspective in a remotely hosted environment. Various architecture and infrastructure criteria can be used in examining an outsourcing option to help evaluate the benefits and risks of a solution. This should result in the development of an outsourcing strategy that sets the stage for a business and technology plan for the future that promotes organizational performance.

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