Q: Working in a huge corporate company, it isn't always easy to have the picture perfect architecture of a centralized data warehouse (DW) feeding all data marts or business intelligence (BI) applications - mainly due to the lack of political will. There is the issue of packaged DWs (e.g. SAP BW). There are also some packaged applications which require historical data (five years of transactional data for compliance) such as the SAP Bank Analyzer. If all data is stored centrally in one DW which then feeds everything else - like the Bank Analyzer - there would be huge amounts of duplication of data. So what approach should one take in a case like this? Do we abandon the centralized data warehouse approach and opt for a more federated approach?

I have done it using both approaches. In your case, I would prefer to keep the centralized data warehouse. Yes, there is duplication of data, but that is because you want consistency between data marts. If you go with a more federated approach, you will do about the same amount of work as with the centralized data warehouse because you need the same consistency.

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