Building the Data Warehouse

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The Data Warehouse Environment

The data warehouse is the heart of the architected environment, and is the foundation of all DSS processing. The job of the DSS analyst in the data warehouse environment is immeasurably easier than in the classical legacy environment because there is a single integrated source of data (the data warehouse) and because the granular data in the data warehouse is easily accessible.

This chapter will describe some of the more important aspects of the data warehouse. A data warehouse is a subject-oriented, integrated, nonvolatile, and time-variant collection of data in support of management’s decisions. The data warehouse contains granular corporate data.

The subject orientation of the data warehouse is shown in Figure 2.1. Classical operations systems are organized around the applications of the company. For an insurance company, the applications may be auto, health, life, and casualty. The major subject areas of the insurance corporation might be customer, policy, premium, and claim. For a manufacturer, the major subject areas might be product, order, vendor, bill of material, and raw goods. For a retailer, the major subject areas may be product, SKU, sale, vendor, and so forth. Each type of company has its own unique set of subjects.

The second salient characteristic of the data warehouse is that it is integrated. Of all the aspects of a data warehouse, integration is the most important. Data is fed from multiple disparate sources into the data warehouse. As the data is


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