Aligning with the business side of the agency helped the Internal Revenue Service build a multi-purpose RDBMS data warehouse that contains multiple years of population data for various IRS data sets and can store up to six terabytes of information. "The information systems organization recognized that to successfully implement data warehousing it would need to align IT with the business through the advances in decision support system (DDS) technologies," says Bob Albicker, deputy associate commissioner for systems integration at the IRS and the Tuesday keynoter at TDWI World Conference – Spring 2001 in Washington, D.C. The agency's first-generation data warehouse had a limited prototype decision support system, a flat file of data containing 400 attributes and was distributed to field researchers in six districts, Albicker says. But the IRS' second-generation data warehouse runs on a multi-tiered, enterprise-wide DDS model, has an RDBMS engine optimized for DSS, multiple tables for 1,500 attributes, a custom-developed extract, transform and load layer and COTS analytical tools. "The use of population data allows the IRS to build data marts as needed to support business DSS needs," Albicker says. The IRS is using data warehousing to analyze, among other things, individual taxpayers that claim the social security numbers of other individuals. In the future, data warehousing will help the IRS meet its congressional mandate of achieving 80 percent electronic filing of tax returns by 2008. "By analyzing the data, the IRS hopes to focus on the reasons why third-parties do not file all of their returns electronically and develop incentives to encourage them to do so," Albicker says.

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