Data warehousing is a strategic business and IT initiative in many organizations today. Data warehouses can be developed in two alternative ways -- the data mart and the enterprise-wide data warehouse strategies -- and each has advantages and disadvantages. To create a data warehouse, data must be extracted from source systems, transformed, and loaded to an appropriate data store. Depending on the business requirements, either relational or multidimensional database technology can be used for the data stores. To provide a multidimensional view of the data using a relational database, a star schema data model is used. Online analytical processing can be performed on both kinds of database technology. Metadata about the data in the warehouse is important for IT and end users. A variety of data access tools and applications can be used with a data warehouse - SQL queries, management reporting systems, managed query environments, DSS/EIS, enterprise intelligence portals, data mining, and customer relationship management. A data warehouse can be used to support a variety of users - executive, managers, analysts, operational personnel, customers, and suppliers. Data warehousing concepts are brought to life through a case study of Harrah's Entertainment, a firm that became a leader in the gaming industry with its CRM business strategy supported by data warehousing.
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