The consensus among industry and financial analysts is that the data warehousing market is mature and that the products and methodologies required to design and implement data warehouses are well understood. The original data warehouses were envisioned as allowing management to use informed hindsight to make better business judgments. However, this vision of the warehouse didn't anticipate that e-business would increase the speed at which the enterprise needs to react. While decisions about how to stock a retail store to better serve the buying patterns of a particular community might affect unsold inventory and profitability, it is unlikely that the inability to make those decisions in a timely manner would drive away customers, as geographic proximity is presumably one of the factors that keeps the customer base "loyal." However, a two- or four-week delay in servicing the needs of an Internet customer is likely to result in the loss of that relationship.

The promise of e-business has been significantly tarnished by its very public failures. However, the fact remains that supporting customers via the Internet has become a requirement for companies, with the bar for service being set by their most effective competitors. Successful use of the Internet as a sales channel depends on the design and range of Internet applications that interface to it ­ and, equally important, the customer's ability to conduct and fulfill transactions through that interface. One could argue that these issues have little to do with traditional data warehousing applications, and yet they are similar to the extent that they typically require the creation and maintenance of data caches distinct from those that are used by back-office applications.

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