Before operational business intelligence (BI) came on the scene, classifying BI applications was simple: enterprise applications and BI/DW activities were clearly separate domains with their own IT staffs, budgets and expertise. There was no overlap between the tools, the data, the expertise or the people working in the different camps. The closest these groups came to working together was the scheduled feeds from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to the data warehouse (DW), but even these took place before any BI work was done and were generally handoffs to the DW team.

It was also easier to categorize software vendors by ERP and DW/BI domains. Nowadays, however, ERP systems can be deployed on multiple relational databases, their schemas and application programming interfaces (APIs) are published and DW/BI vendors partner with ERP vendors. You can use an independent BI vendor's products to query, report and analyze data from ERP applications. In addition, ERP vendors are selling their own DW/BI solutions as extensions to their product lines.

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