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Cheat Sheet

Data Warehousing For Dummies

From Data Warehousing For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Thomas C. Hammergren

Data is probably your company's most important asset, so your data warehouse should serve your needs, such as facilitating data mining and business intelligence. Begin by knowing what to do with a data warehouse; deciding which of three levels of warehousing you need; the basics of building a data warehouse; and recognizing who needs to be involved in the building process.

What to Do with a Data Warehouse

A data warehouse is a home for your high-value data, or data assets, that originates in other corporate applications, such as the one your company uses to fill customer orders for its products, or some data source external to your company, such as a public database that contains sales information gathered from all your competitors.

Why build a data warehouse? This table gives you four different classes of what you can do with a data warehouse:

Basic query and reporting "Tell me what happened."
Business analysis (OLAP) "Tell me what happened and why."
Data mining "Tell me what may happen" or "Tell me something interesting."
Dashboards and scorecards "Tell me how I'm doing currently and against my plan."

3 Levels of Data Warehousing Complexity

Not all data warehouses are created equal. The following three-level classification can help you figure out the characteristics of your particular environment and then choose appropriate technologies, products, and architectural options.

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How to Build a Data Warehouse

You can best build a data warehouse if you can properly manage its scope. Many experts on building data warehouses recommend using an agile (as in agile project management) process, like the one shown here:

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Who's Involved in Building a Data Warehouse

Building a data warehouse involves multiple disciplines in your company. The operating model shown here can optimize your people resources so that you can deliver one enterprise-wide warehouse solution.

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