Modern-day enterprises have to deal with large amounts of information, often processed in real-time, thus enterprise data warehousing emerged as technology aimed to satisfy the needs of rapidly growing number of business customers. Data warehousing is applied in various business software solutions designed to support and facilitate overall decision-making process, enabling managers to easily retrieve and analyze data. Initially, data warehousing solutions have been regarded as relatively costly technology, affordable only to large corporations, but the maturing of this type of software architecture and the emergence of software outsourcing reduced markedly the cost of implementation of data warehousing solutions.
Low entry and maintenance costs determine a major benefit enterprise data warehousing solutions provide to both small and large corporations. Furthermore, data warehousing can be applied in, and is a required element of, a wide range of software applications designed to support financial forecasting, call record analysis, trend analysis, logistics and inventory management, etc.
The three-layer software architecture of a data warehouse and its ability to maintain a copy of information obtained from the source transaction systems used within a broader software solution enables the software to integrate data from multiple source systems. This functionality is extremely advantageous for fast developing businesses witnessing noticeably growing flow of information from various data sources that cannot by easily processed by average customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Thus, a single common data model is introduced and utilized, which provides obvious competitive advantages to business customers.
In fact, contemporary business analytics can hardly cope with the increasing information flow without the help of data warehousing solutions, which also provide data warehouse encryption required by an overwhelming majority of large business customers. Furthermore, business data should be restructured in a way that makes sense to business users, while spreadsheet solutions are not able to deal with the complexity of the task in the framework of medium-sized and large businesses.
An enterprise can do well without deploying data warehousing solutions and still enjoy sustainable business development if the long-term corporate strategy does not envisage expansion to large and crowded markets and rapid growth of customer/supplier relationships. Actually, this is true for most small-sized enterprises that can run their day-to-day business with the help of common CRM solutions.
On the other hand, medium-sized and large businesses cannot cope with increasing pressure from competitors without deployment of some type of enterprise data warehousing solution to improve the overall data management and analytical capabilities of their respective business management software. Integrated data warehousing systems are therefore becoming widespread within a variety of industries, ranging from retailers, to manufacturers, to financial institutions.
Only a limited number of large corporations were able to afford an expensive business software solution incorporating data warehousing technology during the late 1980s and early 1990s; but two decades later the IT industry has also matured and software vendors from Asia/Pacific region and Central and Eastern Europe provide cheaper alternatives to solutions offered by Western software developers. Application development outsourcing and the emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offer opportunities to businesses to further lower costs of enterprise data warehousing and obtain both ready-to-use and tailored hardware and software solutions in a very competitive market.