For the past few years, most of the articles, books and seminar presentations on the technical aspects of data warehousing have focused on the design and initial implementation of the warehouse. Seems pretty natural, right? If you're going to build a data warehouse, then you need to learn about how to do it correctly. However, many people have recently begun to realize that the true success of a data warehouse is only partially dependent on the initial design and implementation, because data warehouses begin to rapidly grow and change as soon as they're implemented. Therefore, the other factor that significantly affects a data warehouse's success is how these subsequent changes are managed after the initial implementation is complete.
Unfortunately, most people are still focused on just the initial implementation. Once the warehouse is built, most organizations feel that the warehouse is "done," and the only thing left to do is to learn how to use it effectively. Unfortunately, if the warehouse remains constant over time, then you are guaranteed to eventually end up with a mismatch between the capabilities of the warehouse and the needs of the organization that created it. In my work, I see this all the time--a warehouse that used to be the twinkle in some IT manager's eye has become woefully out of date. Traditionally, when this happened to older systems, we euphemistically labeled them "legacy systems." This label could be applied to a surprising number of data warehouses, even those that are only a few years old.
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