Q: In terms of data quality projects, could you please explain what a "point solution" is? When does a point solution become an enterprise-wide solution?

Chuck Kelley's Answer:

To me, a point solution solves only one issue. For example, you may cleanse name and address data from your marketing system. That would be a point solution. If you expand that to encompass all the different names and address within the enterprise, then it would be an enterprise-wide solution.

Joe Oates' Answer:

A point solution, in the BI sense, is generally understood to be a product specifically tailored for a particular business process or more particularly, a subprocess. For example, a point solution for sales would include only those tables necessary to answer questions about sales. These tables are normally only meant for sales queries and often consists of strict star schemas.

An enterprise-wide BI solution will include data and information for several business areas (called subject areas). One of the subject areas would be sales and would allow the same types of analyses as the point solution. One of the big differences is that the data structures in the data warehouse are designed to be more flexible and shared across more than one subject area. The idea of an enterprise data warehouse is that, if new requirements come along, you don't have to scrap it and start over. Many point solutions that I have seen, on the other hand, do have to be scrapped and redesigned when functionality from another business area is required.

However, depending on your particular needs, a point solution may be appropriate. If so, it would be a good idea to research several vendors' offerings and choose one that has the ability to be extended gracefully.

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