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What Was: The Data Warehouse Is the Historical Record

Answering the "what was?" question is now the provenance of data warehousing and business intelligence. This wasn't always the case, though. Before data warehousing and business intelligence, management relied on hard-copy reports. The data warehouse provided the most complete and accurate record of historical performance. The promise of business intelligence technology was that users throughout the enterprise would be able to access, analyze, and create the reports that they needed.

In most organizations, managers still rely on static reports, but, increasingly, these reports are delivered to users electronically via email or are organized within secured information portals. While still supporting user-initiated analysis and reporting of data, business intelligence technologies are also supporting a large part of the standard reporting of business performance metrics.

The reason is that the data warehouse is often the best source of multisourced integrated data. The data warehouse supports one-number reporting, eliminating the frustration associated with many versions of critical performance information. The role of the data warehouse is to be the most reliable basis for reporting performance.

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