Many have forgotten that the earliest data warehouses were built to provide reports to management on business performance. Early widespread definitions of data warehousing actually said data warehouses were "to support management needs." This was a good start, but the untapped potential benefits to a larger audience awaited. The later application of data warehousing to the larger masses of knowledge-workers and, more recently, everyone, is proof of that.

Nonetheless, data warehouse applications as well as complete, standalone data warehouse efforts exist today for business performance needs. These management business performance needs tend to get lumped under key performance indicators (KPIs). Many use summarized versions of the larger body of data warehouse data that everyone uses, with a specialized application interface on top.

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