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Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

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					?Data warehousing can serve two functions for business intelligence: provide
information to help create long-term strategies for a company and provide information
to end users for day-to-day operational exercises. Because of the nature of the two
functions: analysis and operational, it might be hard to image a data warehousing
system that can accommodate both, but it is possible. In order to leverage a data
warehousing project to do both, a company must understand what information is
required for each.

Business Intelligence for Analysis

Usually, business intelligence is set up to support the decision making process and
will answer these questions for a company: "How is the sales department doing,"
"What products have the most sales," and "What region has the best sales and which
has the worst?" The answers to these types of questions then help management make
important decisions for the company by giving them an overall view of where the
company is headed. This data needs to be more aggregated and has to have enough
history to provide meaningful information.

Business Intelligence for Operations

More recently, business intelligence has been used to help sales people, customer
service representatives, and customers day to day. The data used to provide services
for these users must be updated constantly and should be integrated. The questions
this type of business intelligence answers are "What are the most recent transactions,"
"What has been processed, what hasn't," and "What is the best course of action for
this customer based on their history?" The high-level information that can be gathered
from more traditional business intelligence is far less important than the details and
recent history for operations. This type of data can help sales people make tactical
decisions, improve the efficacy of customer service, and increase customer knowledge
and satisfaction.

For companies who want both business intelligence for analysis and business
intelligence for operations, there is a way to organize their data warehousing project
to support each activity. Data from all sources must go a centralized warehouse to be
cleansed, have business rules applied, and integrated. Once in the central data
warehouse, the data can then be redistributed to different data marts to serve different
purposes. This model eliminates issues with duplication, data quality, and data control.
This solution can be created from scratch by a company's IT team or the business
could same time and money by finding a business intelligence software company that
has already created software for this model. Either way, any company can have it all
with this data warehousing model.

Andrew Morgan is a writer and business expert who specializes in Business
Intelligence Software. For more information on business intelligence visit .

				
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