Data marts have become essential tools in today's business environment – repositories of data gathered from many different sources which analyze and then present information to a particular group of users in terms relevant to their work. Take a manager who has just purchased some external data to help with an important marketing campaign. For that data to be meaningful, it first needs to be merged with the company's internal data. From that data pool, the company will then have what is needed to drive the campaign.

The typical solution today is to extract internal data and store it in SAS files along with the external data. While this solution is well accepted, SAS files are more difficult to manipulate than data in a relational database. Another limitation is that relational databases require skills (logical database design, physical database design, physical database generation and loading) not normally possessed by SAS programmers. Recruiting a database administrator to provide these services may introduce a several-month delay.

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