We're all familiar with the ETL acronym - extract, transform and load - which has been around since business intelligence (BI) as a discipline was invented. Yet the underlying assumption - that BI systems must generate their refined data from previous records in operational systems - is a product of a 10-year-old worldview.

In the mid-90s, the only place data turned up was in operational systems, so it made a lot of sense to distill information from enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. But advances in raw processing power are starting to call this bedrock assumption into question. Why not just write the BI-friendly format immediately and be done with it? A number of vendors are starting to do just that. Maybe not enough to call it a wave - but certainly enough to call it an interesting ripple.

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