Claudia would like to thank Tom Kerr for his contribution to this month's column.

The data acquisition process of the Corporate Information Factory (CIF), in which the data warehouse and operational data store (ODS) are populated from operational sources, represents the most technically challenging part of any business intelligence (BI) environment. Some industry experts estimate that 60 to 80 percent of a BI project's effort is spent on this process alone. In today's high-volume, client/server environment, data acquisition techniques have to coordinate staging operations, filtering, data hygiene routines, data transformation and data load techniques in addition to cooperating with network technology to populate the data warehouse and ODS. Unless your CIF is very small in size or scope, these are usually separate processes that must function as one smoothly operating unit.

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