Best Practices for Data Warehousing

by Robert T
In the peer review article “Best Practices in Data Warehousing to Support Business Initiatives and Needs,” authored by Jeff Lawyer and Shamsul Chowdury, the two authors discuss the importance and decisions certain businesses would have to implement in order to run their business efficiently. The authors illustrate how many companies in the 1990s were having a difficult time adjusting to the success of the many computer applications as well as the blooming of internet use. What was most difficult, according to Chowdury and Lawyer, was choosing which architecture to implement. The two general types of architectures were the Bill Inmon Style and the Ralph Kimball Style. The Inmon Stlye is one that is considered to be application neutral and could be named an enterprise data warehouse. The Kimball Style, however, has data prearranged. The authors also mention that with the “stove-pipes” of data, the cross use of data between businesses was unknown. “Under the Kimball approach, data are arranged in an application- or data-view-specific manner [8]. Under the Inmon approach, data are arranged according to the rules of normalization and remain application-
and data-view-independent [13].”
As for data warehousing growth, most data warehousing initiatives have concluded that there is a continuous need for incremental updates to the data warehouse. The authors suggest to treat the warehouse as an ongoing application. “Keeping your data warehouse team intact after the initial build is very important in order to sustain the capability to react to this need. To paraphrase a popular saying, ‘Data warehousing is not a destination – it is a journey’”. The authors were studying the data warehouse journey of one U.S. retailing company in 1995. The company used their warehouse to store only 80 gigabytes of information. The
80 gigabyte Inmon-style data warehouse was used to select customers for a targeted creditstimulation marketing program. The database has grown to hold nearly 7 terabytes with two hundred tables and two-thousand seven hundred columns.

I found this article to be really interesting. Mostly because the authors were discussing the accomplishments of one U.S. retailing company in the 1990’s which was the dawn of available computer technology for a lot of people and the growth of e-businesses around the world. It just exposes one company’s decision in choosing the right warehousing architecture when many other companies had to have done the same thing and may not have been as successful.

Lawyer, J.; Chowdhury, S.; , “Best practices in data warehousing to support business initiatives and needs,” System Sciences, 2004. Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on , vol., no., pp. 9 pp., 5-8 Jan. 2004
doi: 10.1109/HICSS.2004.1265515


2 thoughts on “Best Practices for Data Warehousing

  • May 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Great article. It is amazing to think that computers have not been around very long, and their practical uses for everyday people and businesses is very recent, perhaps only in the last 20 years. It is also interesting to note about how hard it must have been for the early businesses to adjust to the change.

  • May 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I think this is an interesting article. It seems like it is very important to choose the approach that is right for the company. Whether it is the Ralph Kimball style or the Bill Inmon style, choosing the right warehousing architecture for the company seems very important in order to be successful.

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