Uses for a data warehouse
A data warehouse is a central repository for all or significant parts of the data that an enterprise's various business systems collect. The term was coined by W. H. Inmon. IBM sometimes uses the term "information warehouse."
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Typically, a data warehouse is housed on an enterprise mainframe server. Data from various online transaction processing (OLTP) applications and other sources is selectively extracted and organized on the data warehouse database for use by analytical applications and user queries. Data warehousing emphasizes the capture of data from diverse sources for useful analysis and access, but does not generally start from the point-of-view of the end user or knowledge worker who may need access to specialized, sometimes local databases. The latter idea is known as the data mart.
Data warehouses have much more potential than what it is being used for. Most companies use data warehousing
Validation is the where the user community validates with data what they
already believe to be true. For example, Denver consumers buy products
differently than New York City consumers. New York folks tend to
purchase a candy bar on a whim (city population buying patterns), where
Denver folks are less likely to do so (rural population buying
patterns). Another example is the question "Who are my best
customers?" About 45% of the usage of the data warehouse is validation
- Tactical Reporting
Tactical reporting is where the user community uses the data for a
tactical reason. About 40% of the usage of the data warehouse is for tactical
Exploration is where you search for ideas or knowledge that you did not
know before. This is where data mining techniques (e.g., association,
classification, genetic algorithms) and applications (e.g., market
basket analysis, fraud detection) come into play. About 15% of the usage of the data warehouse is
The traditional role of a data warehouse is to collect and organize historical business data so it can be analyzed to assist management in making business decisions. Until recently, access to data warehouses was limited to database experts who could create the sophisticated queries necessary to retrieve, summarize, and format information for use by analysts and executive decision makers. As data warehouses become more common and businesses involve lower levels of management in the decision-making process, the need has become greater for direct end-user access to data warehouse data by people with minimal database expertise.
The data warehouse must accommodate the requirements of a continually increasing variety of applications that access data warehouse data. Most applications must be set up and initially configured before they can work effectively with a data warehouse, and this work is often performed or managed by the data warehouse administrator. In some cases the data warehouse must incorporate modifications in order to meet the requirements of a new application.
In addition to end-user applications for data access, other applications continue to be developed that execute within the data warehouse environment to configure and analyze data in new and powerful ways. Such applications require administration and maintenance by the data warehouse administrator.
New uses for data warehouse technology are continually being developed. Some organizations now collect, analyze, and package data for sale to customers. Real-time data warehouses, once a term with no meaning, are now emerging for use in online commerce.