What is the advantage & disadvantage of using a data warehouse?
Data warehousing is about making your data work harder and more efficiently. Normalizing data across departments and applications always requires an investment and commitment at the top of the corporate ladder -- this has nothing to do with technology, but more to do with corporate vision. The alternative is usually some type of aggregation of the data at the departmental level to a specified reporting level. For example, reporting sales activity at the product as opposed to at the transaction level. Whether or not this is worth the investment depends upon such factors as interest, available resources, quality and availability of data. The benefit -- the pros -- is that this information can represent a powerful competitive edge in a marketplace. The downside -- the cons -- is that like the tall masted ships in "Two Years Before the Mast," "a data warehouse is like a lady's wristwatch - always under repair" meaning required continuous commitment and investment.
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