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View External Data from a User’s Perspective

Here is an outline of how a data warehouse user sees external data and its importance. Consider these two tables. This table shows the sales performance for Good Guys, Inc., and the following table shows the sales performance of the competing Bad Guys, Inc.

Good Guys, Inc. Sales Performance
Region 2007 Q1 Results 2008 Q1 Results Change
Northeast $2,000,000 $2,500,000 +25 percent
Southeast $1,500,000 $2,000,000 +33 percent
Midwest $2,000,000 $2,200,000 +10 percent
Southwest $1,000,000 $1,200,000 +20 percent
Pacific $3,000,000 $3,300,000 +10 percent
Bad Guys, Ltd. Sales Performance
Region 2007 Q1 Results 2008 Q1 Results Change
Northeast $1,500,000 $2,000,000 +33 percent
Southeast $0 $0 N/A
Midwest $0 $0 N/A
Southwest $1,000,000 $2,000,000 +100 percent
Pacific $0 $2,000,000 +100 percent

The first table doesn’t lie: It shows analysts and executives at Good Guys, Inc., that its sales in every region have increased in the first quarter of 2008, as compared with the first quarter of 2007. Based solely on year-to-year sales increases, they might easily assess the sales performance and growth in each region as good.

The big picture, though, should tell even the most out-of-touch executive that if someone doesn’t do something soon, all those stock options will be about as valuable as a flowery Hawaiian shirt, baggy shorts, and sandals at the North Pole. The Northeast, Southwest, and Pacific regions of Good Guys, Inc are all being outperformed by their competitors — Bad Guys, Ltd.

Year-to-Year Competitive Assessment
Region Good Guys, Inc (Us) Change Bad Guys Ltd (Them) Change Competitive
Northeast +25 percent +33 percent Problem
Southeast +33 percent N/A Good
Midwest +10 percent N/A Good
Southwest +20 percent +100 percent Big Problem
Pacific +10 percent +100 percent Uh-Oh!
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