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Data Warehousing Essay

998 words - 4 pages

Businesses around the world are faced with many challenges when attempting to compete and gain a competitive advantage over their competition. The members of the management team within these businesses need to make quick and accurate decisions which will often impact the company and all of its employees, possibly for years to come. One of the worst situations for one of these decision makers to find themselves in is when they know that all of the information they need is available; but they are unable to retrieve that information in an accurate and useful way. In no field is this truer than in the manufacturing industry, where one bad decision could cost the company millions of dollars, especially in regards to the contract proposals and bidding process. One tool which can aid in this decision making process when the required information is spread out across the company, is called data warehousing.
A Data Warehouse is a separate database that is specifically designed for aiding the decision making process. This new database can carry out this function by being subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant, and non-updateable. (Menninger, 1994) These four concepts are vitally important for a data warehouse to supply the decision making information that it is tasked to provide. In the example of the manufacturing company bidding or quoting on a contract, the Subjects would be Customers, Suppliers, Employees, and Parts. All the information found in the Data Warehouse would be oriented around these key subjects. The data, as mentioned earlier, would also be collected from many different sources and integrated together to form one set of valid information. The third element that would be important, centers on the element of time. Using time, the Data Warehouse will be able to relate trend information to the requesting user. The fourth and final element also relates to the nature and source of the data. Since the data is collected from operational databases, this new Data Warehouse database is not meant to be updated by users. (Inmon, 1992)
All of the elements mentioned form the basics of a Data Warehouse, but one key statement can be formed, there is a clear separation between Operational processing, and Informational processing. (White, 1993) For operational processing, the databases are interactive, end users have the ability to both retrieve information and commit data into the system. Databases designed around operational processing are optimized with this in mind and need to allow quick committing of this new data. Along with the quick committing, an operational database will closely match the area of use for the system. This means that a Quality Inspection system will have entities and field information that is of interest to employees in the Quality Department. The same can be said for a database that stores shipment information, it will contain information that is of interest to employees in the Shipping Department. These...

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