Seems like lately some of the trade pubs have been a bit short of copy and have turned to the (self-styled) "industry gurus" to fill up what otherwise might be white space. The last few months are a case in point. My stack of guru-inspired documents--including articles, press releases, "white papers" (I often think of them as whiteWASH papers, etc.),--measures about 5" high just from stuff printed since the first of January. Sure, I save 'em. You never know when a bit of plagiarism might come in handy. This article is for those of you who cannot (or choose not to) afford the sometimes substantial fees the gurus charge for their oracular visions. (No, this is not an ad for Larry Ellison, either.) So what, you may well ask, are the gurus of data warehousing telling us? I'm here to tell you--for free! The names will be changed, however, to protect the innocent against "being misunderstood" and me against libel.

Our first guru, Ayntit Devine, says that data warehouse budgets are on the decline--"a downward turn expected to continue among Global 3000 companies." Wow, this is really a killer projection. FLAG TO VENDORS--quit investing money in new data warehousing products and services. It doesn't make sense to invest in a declining market.

Our second guru, Sin Seer, is convinced that Chapter 11 awaits the business that screws up its data warehouse. In his view, one can't compete without the right stuff. I wonder if, in coming to this conclusion, he spent some time interviewing Messrs. Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. Neither, to our knowledge, has a data warehouse, at least not the computerized kind.

Next we have Augie Augur who says that the Y2K problem (he calls it "panic") will put data warehouse projects on freeze. He says that those companies who are already Y2K-ready will rush past those that aren't. Funny, we haven't found anyone worrying much about Y2K except a few consultancies offering services that purport to solve the problem.

Sue Soothsayer tells us that there will be an escalating "religious war" over the usefulness of entity-relationship modeling. She may have got it right. The thing is that I haven't a clue what entity-relationship modeling means. In fact, when I first saw the expression, I was mystified. I immediately called some of my techie colleagues for clarification. One assured me that it had to do with Monica Lewinski, but another expert was positive it had to do with Gennifer Flowers.

Claire Clairvoyant, on the other hand, doesn't see it that way at all. Rather, he sees it as Samson at the Valley of Jezreel, starring Microsoft as slaughterer of the unfaithful--that is, all the other bazillion vendors who are clearly too naive to protect themselves against the little guy with short hair and glasses armed with the jawbone of an ass.

Our final guru is Sy Psychic who specializes in the services segment of the data warehouse industry. Ol' Sy says the death of small services firms is inevitable, mid-size firms will be on the rise and the big firms will dominate big clients. Sy didn't get it quite right. There is nothing more in demand today than the small services firm. The confusion stems from the fact that the demand comes not from customers, but rather from the big services firms who are desperate to buy up the little firms because all the good people work for the small firms. So while the little companies may be "dead" in the sense that they get removed from corporate directories, their owners are filling their pockets with long green. If you want to make big money on the services end of data warehousing, just start a small firm and sell out to a bigger one. The eulogies are songfests.

Well, there you have it, an all-in-one rundown of the latest prognostications by the most famous oracles. Armed with this complete picture of the future of data warehousing and decision support, you will be able to make much better informed decisions about your future direction and focus your planning activities on those issues that really count. Although the advice is free, donations to the Prognosticator's Foundation for keeping up this work are gratefully accepted. Please send them to the law firm of Medium, Prophet, Sibyl and Palmist, 711 BS Road, Palo Alto, California. Also keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

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