Chapter 2 - Chapter 2. Data Warehouse Concepts In this...

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Chapter 2. Data Warehouse Concepts In this chapter, we look briefly at how computing has changed its focus from operational to decisional concerns. We also define data warehousing concepts, and cite the typical reasons for building data warehouses. Gradual Changes in Computing Focus In retrospect, it is easy to see how computing has shifted its focus from operational to decisional concerns. The differences in operational and decisional information requirements presented new challenges that old computing practices could not meet. Below, we elaborate on how this change in computing focus became the impetus for the development of data warehousing technologies. Early Computing Focused on Operational Requirements The Business Cycle (depicted in Figure 2-1 ) shows us that any enterprise must operate at three levels: operational (i.e., the day-to-day running of the business); tactical (i.e., the definition of policy and the monitoring of operations); and strategic (i.e., the definition of organization's vision, goals and objectives). Figure 2-1 The Business Cycle In Chapter 1 , we noted that much of the effort and money in computing has focused on meeting the operational business requirements of enterprises. After all, without the OLTP applications that record thousands, even millions, of discrete transactions each day, it would not be possible for any enterprise to meet customer needs while enforcing business policies consistently. Nor would it be possible for an enterprise to grow without significantly expanding its manpower base. With operational systems deployed and day-to-day information needs being met by the OLTP systems, the focus of computing has over the recent years shifted naturally to meeting the decisional business requirements of an enterprise. Figure 2-1 illustrates the business cycle as we view it today.
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Decisional Requirements Cannot Be Fully Anticipated Unfortunately, it is not possible for IT professionals to anticipate the information requirements of an enterprise's decision-makers for the simple reason that their information needs and report requirements change as the business situation changes. Decision-makers themselves cannot be expected to know their information requirements ahead of time; they review enterprise data from different perspectives and at different levels of detail to find and address business problems as the problems arise. Decision-makers also need to look through business data to identify opportunities that can be exploited. They examine performance trends to identify business situations that can provide competitive advantage, improve profits, or reduce costs. They analyze market data and make the tactical as well as strategic decisions that determine the course of the enterprise. Operational Systems Fail to Provide Decisional Information
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Chapter 2 - Chapter 2. Data Warehouse Concepts In this...

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