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Why Is External Data Important to Your Data Warehouse?

External data — from outside your own company — is important to your data warehouse for one simple reason: To ensure that you make the right business decisions, you need to see the big picture, which usually means you can’t find all the answers stored in your company’s various computer applications and databases. Here are some examples:

  • Your data warehouse might be able to tell you that a customer’s bill-paying record throughout all her accounts with you has been satisfactory, with only an occasional brief blip. Before you offer a dramatically increased credit limit, however, you might want to know that this same customer has been continually late with payments almost everywhere else and has a poor credit rating.

  • According to the consolidated results in your data warehouse, pulled in from 20 different sales applications across the world, the trend is “up, up, up!” no matter how you slice and dice the data. Your archenemy competitor, however, is doing much better than you and, worse, is getting 75 percent of all new business in key geographic regions, leaving you only the crumbs.

  • Your unit sales across your entire product line have been increasing steadily in all stores nationwide except for every store in Colorado. Is the problem an economic slowdown there? New competitors moving into the area? A steady, dramatic population decrease during the past 12 months?

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