A Brief History of Data Warehousing

Many people, when they first hear the basic principles of data warehousing — particularly copying data from one place to another — think (or even say), “That doesn’t make any sense! Why waste time copying and moving data, and storing it in a different database? Why not just get it directly from its original location when someone needs it?”

The evolution of data warehousing can trace its roots to work done prior to computers being widely available, including

  • The continuous marketing research conducted by Charles Coolidge Parlin (1872–1942). Parlin is now recognized as the Father of Marketing Research. He did marketing research for the Curtis Publishing Company to gather information about customers and markets to help Curtis sell more advertising in their magazine, The Saturday Evening Post.

  • In 1923, Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr., established ACNielsen in the United States. Arthur C. Nielsen was one of the founders of the modern marketing research industry. Among many innovations in consumer-focused marketing and media research, Mr. Nielsen created a unique retail-measurement technique that gave clients the first reliable, objective information about competitive performance and the impact of their marketing and sales programs on revenues and profits.

    Nielsen information gave practical meaning to the concept of market share and made it one of the critical measures of corporate performance.

These two events in history led to what we now know as data warehousing because each of them required high-quality data to formulate trends and enable business users to make decisions.

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