Enterprise data warehousing originally emerged as a set of technologies to store and maintain organizational data but it rapidly evolved into an approach widely used in development of reliable business intelligence tools, solutions designed to manage metadata, and data mining systems that provide the backbone of numerous decision support business software applications. Modern-day organizations are often overwhelmed with growing needs to store, retrieve and analyze data used to take important strategic and day-to-day management decisions, thus implementation of enterprise data warehousing technologies is inevitable in business context, regardless of the software adoption price and post-implementation maintenance costs. On the other hand, hardware and software solutions in the field of data warehouses development are decreasing in price thanks to the overall decline of hardware and software prices and highly competitive market for such products.
In fact, only a handful of industries can afford not to adopt reliable data warehousing solutions that integrate data from multiple sources, format and store all data according to a set of organizational standards, and allow for fast data access and data analysis. Those types of enterprise data warehouses are usually integrated into a more complex business software system such as a customer relationship management (CRM) application or an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, where data can be further processed and analyzed to provide managers with much needed decision support functionality.
Sophisticated data warehouses used in enterprise environment are heading toward greater integration with third-party software and real-time operational capabilities. Real-time enterprise data warehousing provides functionality for a data warehouse where every transaction or change in the source data forces real-time updates in the data warehouse, while an integrated data warehouse is designed to collect and process data from a variety of sources, those usually being software applications dealing with various aspects of business. Thus, enterprise data warehousing is evolving into a full-scale approach and technology that involves all and every aspect of running a successful business.
The widespread use of data warehousing gave birth to a phenomenon called a data warehouse appliance, which may refer to a specific mix of hardware and software designed to meet the requirements of an enterprise data warehousing system, or to a software system developed to operate on a specific data warehousing hardware platform. Such solutions provide a number of essential advantages if due diligence is conducted properly and if strategic planning have took place.
First of all, contemporary data warehouses are highly scalable, thus can be easily customized to meet changing requirements of businesses across various industries, thus saving time and money should a need arises to adjust or customize the system. Secondly, business analytics is now considered a must-have functionality across different business software applications, while data warehousing is one of the underlying technologies used to provide reliable and correct data analysis of any kind. Third, data warehousing can reduce overall costs of running a business through automation of different procedures and data transactions, as well as performing automated data consistency checks.
Furthermore, a good number of business transaction systems do not maintain data history or provide limited functionality to store records on all and every transaction. For their part, enterprise data warehouses are able to support virtually unlimited number of records regarding any transaction that occurred within the source system, thus allowing businesses to maintain truly reliable enterprise databases which are then used to conduct reliable data analysis.
Originally, the most sophisticated tools in the field of enterprise data warehousing have been in the hands of government agencies dealing with large volumes of data like census data, but experts believe that by 2020 the majority of business intelligence software tools will be in possession of private organizations. Thus, enterprise data warehousing is gradually shifting from a technology used in collection of data for governmental purposes into a technology that provides the fundamental layer for a wide range of business intelligence tools.
Kapil Edke is a technology lover.