Building the Data Warehouse

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The granular data found in the data warehouse is the key to reusability, because it can be used by many people in different ways. For example, within a corporation, the same data might be used to satisfy the needs of marketing, sales, and accounting. All three departments look at the basic same data. Marketing may want to see sales on a monthly basis by geographic district, sales may want to see sales by salesperson by sales district on a weekly basis, and finance may want to see recognizable revenue on a quarterly basis by product line. All of these types of information are closely related, yet slightly different. With a data warehouse, the different organizations are able to look at the data as they wish to see it.

Looking at the data in different ways is only one advantage of having a solid foundation. A related benefit is the ability to reconcile data, if needed. Once there is a single foundation on which everyone relies, if there is a need to explain a discrepancy in analyses between two or more departments, then reconciliation is relatively simple.

Another related benefit is flexibility. Suppose that marketing wishes to alter how it looks at data. Having a foundation in place allows this to be accomplished easily.

Another benefit of granular data is that it contains a history of activities and events across the corporation. And the level of granularity is detailed enough that the data can be reshaped across the corporation for many different needs.

But perhaps the largest benefit of a data warehouse foundation is that future unknown requirements can be accommodated. Suppose there is a new requirement to look at data, or the state legislature passes a new law, or OPEC changes its rules for oil allocation, or the stock market crashes. There is a constant stream of new requirements for information because change is inevitable. With the data warehouse in place, the corporation can easily respond to change. When a new requirement arises and there is a need for information, the data warehouse is already available for analysis, and the organization is prepared to handle the new requirements.

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