Currently, most companies with international lines of business, global offices or expatriated operations are embarking on international data warehouse projects, both broad and narrow in scope. Global data warehouse structures, with amalgamations of heterogeneous systems and databases on different platforms spread around the world, are now the norm. With Web-based data movement, mining and analysis, data boundaries have virtually dissolved. The world of data has become much smaller as many of earth's remote areas log onto the Internet for business intelligence purposes. Entities that have expanded into truly intercontinental businesses, with complex 24x7 globally aware data, run the gamut from international manufacturing conglomerates to financial firms to telecommunication providers. Unfortunately, many worldly warehouses and reporting repositories still have hurdles supporting quality global analysis, research, data consolidation, executive reporting and other types of data mining, whether approached from a core business, product or customer-oriented paradigm. The simultaneous distribution and publishing of data to autonomous and far-reaching locations is usually wrought with formidable difficulties. It is important to realize that problems are not only limited to bandwidth and language.

International data warehouse requirements can be extremely diverse. For instance, it must be decided early whether the data warehouse will be primarily for high level decision support reporting or detailed historical data mining and exploration (optimized for statistical or actuarial analysis and drill-through/drill-down inquiries). You must know fully which elements will drive warehouse reporting and data dissections - what the patterns of analysis will be. In other words: Will your global data warehouse or repository be geared toward customers, products, financials or other components? There is no off-the-shelf model, database or application that is 100 percent correlative with the warehousing objectives of international businesses and their data distribution needs. Global repositories will all have to be built so that they reflect how information and data is used in the company. An effective international data warehouse will need to reflect and reinforce the core values of the organization itself. Thus, it is a good idea to get a general understanding of some of the pitfalls, problems and possibilities of international data warehousing, before coming face to face with them at crunch-time.

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