Recently, I ran across a magazine article written by a former colleague approximately five years ago. The topic was data warehousing for the financial services industry. My colleague extolled the virtues of data warehousing and made predictions about the future of customer service for organizations that didn't build data warehouses. The article piqued my interest and made me wonder if organizations that built data warehouses had reaped the benefits discussed in the article and if the author's predictions for the future had come to fruition. The answers I found surprised me.

"With reports gleaned from combined systems information (the data warehouse), banks can, for the first time, see a total customer picture," said the author.1 I pondered whether or not this statement still (if it had ever) held true. "Not really," I thought. Back in the heady, embryonic days of data warehousing, all of us IT people thought of data warehousing as a panacea for all IT problems. We thought that by building a very large warehouse that culled and aggregated information from an organization's disparate systems, we could craft an accurate picture of our customers.

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