The world of data warehousing is characterized by explosive growth and transformation. Just six short years ago, the concepts outlined in Bill Inmon's book, Building the Data Warehouse, were perceived by many in the IT establishment to be just another "throwaway" idea--IT grasping at yet another silver bullet, technology's cure for what ails the legacy systems environment. So, six years later, how does one explain the phenomenal success enjoyed by data warehouse practitioners, advocates, industry analysts, trainers, consultants, lecturers and tools vendors? Quite simply, data warehousing makes business sense. It makes sense to business analysts, their managers and the decision-making executives in major companies throughout the world. It doesn't matter what the industry is, be it manufacturing, retail, banking, telecommunications or health care, there is a common thread linking people who make decisions--they want to make effective decisions and that means those decisions must be based on facts and data. These underlying facts and data, the heart and soul of the information-based enterprise, reside in the data warehouse.

The widespread acceptance of the data warehousing concept by the marketplace meant quite simply that vendors would follow with products and services. Technology vendors who had been dismissing data warehousing concepts as fluff and fly-by-night "techno-evangelism" changed direction so quickly that whiplash became an epidemic in every corner of IT vendor-dom. Hardware providers suddenly had the perfect data warehouse platforms. DBMS vendors discovered their solutions happened to be optimal for your data warehouse performance needs. The pent-up demand by businesses to build data warehouses created unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurial pursuits in extracting, transforming and loading data, integrated data modeling and CASE tools, data repositories and data access tools. Most recently, data warehousing demand has been manifested in the data mart and products for OLAP and data mining tools.

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