The Disadvantages of a Data Warehouse
Many vendors will spend a great deal of time talking about the advantages of data warehouses, and why companies need them if they wish to survive in the global market. While there is a degree of truth to the statements that are made by many vendors, it is important for companies to realize that data warehouses are not a panacea, a solution to all the problems a company will face.
Being able to maximize the efficiency of a data warehouse requires the company to look at it from multiple views, and this includes those which are both positive and negative.
The ultimate goal of a data warehouse system is to store historical information about a company’s transactions, and present this informatin in a way that will allow business executives to make important decisions. However, this data may make up only a small part of the information that a company needs to operate, and its value may even be limited. In some situations, the end user will not have a strong interest in older processing data, and much of this data is made available in basic reports. Many of the markets that businesses operate in today are in constant transition. Depending on the conditions, it may not be necessary to use a historical system.
In other words, data warehouses may be too much for most businesses. This is especially true for many small to medium sized businesses that are analyze their transactions with needing expensive programs. One of the criticisms which are commonly made of data warehouses is their complexity. The implementation of a data warehouse can be so complex that it can make the business processes harder to deal with. Some experts have even said that these complications can eventually strangle the business. If a company is not capable of placing a lower emphasis on some processes, the data warehouse can cause the business environment to become much more cluttered.
The second problem that has become quite common with data warehouses is their cost. Like all advanced technology, when data warehouses were first introduced, only the truly wealthy companies could afford them. Even today, most data warehouses are outside the price range of companies that don’t fall under the Fortune 500 or 1000 category. While vendors in recent years have begun tailoring their products towards small to medium sized businesses, many of these companies may not see the need of using a sysem that is overly complex. Because of the speed of the business world, many companies aren’t patient enough to wait for the implementation of a data warehouse.
In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for a data warehouse project to take many months for implementation. In one case, it took a company 18 months to fully implement the system. Most firms today want results, and they want them fast. They don’t see the need for waiting months on a system that is unproven, and could inevitably become a failure. The ROI for data warehouse projects will typically be much lower than vendors promise, and it will take time before a company begins seeing a return on their investment. Many firms simply don’t have the patience to wait for these returns.
It is also important for companies to pay attention to the data aspect of the warehouse. Because of the complexity of these systems, it could be said that data warehouses can take on a life of their own. It must be emphasized that placing data in a data warehouse for the sake of adding for no specific purpose can reduce its value.
When you combine this with the fact that the costs involved with maintaining the data warehouse can become larger, it is easy to see why companies should be careful in their decision to use it.
Data warehouses are a technology that has brought a great deal of success to many companies. However, many vendors paint a rosy picture and fail to talk about the challenges that a company will face. This is done because of the fact that the vendor is interested in selling the product. Companies must analyze the organization carefully to decide if a data warehouse is conducive to their needs. Only after they’ve done this analysis can they decide if a data warehouse is truly worth the time and cost.