Thursday, January 15, 2009

Data Warehousing Around the World

Bill Inmon published an article in B-Eye-Network called Data Warehousing Around the World, where he looks at the differences and similarities of data warehouses in different parts of the world.

He did the question; "So what does data warehousing around the world look like? Are there practices that make one country different from another country?"

He answered the question, commenting what he thinks about the data warehousing scenario around the world. I highlight some comments:

First off, smaller countries often have no data warehousing activities. The more vibrant the economy, the greater the chance that the country has data warehousing in its corporations.

There are several types of industries where data warehouses are typically found – telecommunications, financial, and so forth. Where there is a large concentration of data, there usually is a concentration of data warehouse activities.

Another factor is that of availability of technology. For large, industrialized countries, there is no shortage of technology. There is SAP, IBM, Oracle, Business Objects, Informatica and many other technologies that are sold and supported in many countries of the world. But there are countries where some of these basic technologies are not found.

Another consideration is that of support – for the design, implementation and operation of the data warehouse. While technology may be freely available, finding designers and developers is another matter.

The forces for a data warehouse are as evident in foreign corporations as they are in U.S. corporations. In foreign corporations, there is a need for:

Corporate information. If there is one value of a data warehouse, it is the ability to provide information about the corporation.

A single version of the truth. There is need for reconciliation in foreign corporations. There needs to be a single place where there is absolute reconcilability of information.

Granular data. Granular data has many values. The greatest value of granular information is that with granular information, the corporation can look at the same data in many different ways and still not lose credibility.

Historical information. Corporations everywhere need to see the forest and the trees. And it is historical data that allows this perspective. Stated differently, with only current data, you cannot detect important trends and patterns that have been occurring over time.

There is one other interesting correlative factor regarding data warehouses and their usage and acceptance. That factor is one of competitiveness. The more competitive the industry, the more likely there is that there will be a data warehouse. Indeed, around the world where there is little or no competitiveness, there is a very slow adoption rate for data warehousing.

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