This is my first column for DM Review, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to share my experiences working as a data warehouse practitioner; I hope that you will share yours with me as well. Data Warehouses That Work will hopefully transcend many of the fragmented ideas and disciplines in data warehousing today and get right to the heart of it designing and building analytic architectures that don't just meet specifications, but delight and even amaze the people who use them. We'll explore how to deliver technology that can be used as leverage to bring information to an organization in ways that truly make a difference.
The whole point of a data warehouse is to provide an environment where people can analyze information for decision making. This definition is expanding rapidly to include much more integrated analytical processing, closed-loop systems and even standalone analytical robots using rules engines. But there is a problem. The end-user part of the equation is often an afterthought. Too many data warehouse initiatives stop with the data disciplines modeling, gathering, cleansing and storing data. That's only part of the solution. Data warehouses that work must be in some way transformative, perhaps even capable of changing the nature of work at a fundamental level in an organization. Granted, we never have the resources or the time to do anything quite so magnificent. That's the impasse at which the industry is stuck. What we can do is find areas where we can work with groups that are committed and together find ways to implement truly unique and powerful applications driven by the data warehouse.
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