Are you considering purchasing a pre-built application -- a data model, for example, or an ETL for a complex source system like ERP -- as a shortcut to traditional data warehousing? We've been studying this segment of the market, and doing implementations, and we have seen that there is a difference in levels of packaged data warehouse offerings. Each of these levels can demand a different price point, due to the need to augment the solution and realize the promise of value. Some solutions may be technically unsound for the long run regardless of their level.

The highest-level solutions comprise the ability to source data from common systems like ERPs through the use of pre-built extractors that know the source systems well and a bundled ETL tool for the rest of the data that is needed. The ETL process is managed through the use of metadata and can be scheduled at different frequencies than once nightly, as recommended. Another functionality of a full solution is a pre-built data model for the specific client industry that is flexibly accommodating to the specific needs of the client and can be iteratively populated over time. Data model, and ETL, changes from the packaged vendor over time should accommodate the changes that clients will inevitably need to make to the data model and the ETL.

These full packaged Business Intelligence offerings can qualify to become the enterprise data warehouse over time.

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This was first published in November 2001

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