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Can I have two data warehouses?

Considering two data warehouses? Learn what a data warehouse expert suggests thinking about before you start.

Our organization currently runs a data warehouse employing Cognos software. A recent expensive SAP project has initiated the use of SAP BW and proposed decommissioning of the Cognos data warehouse. I feel that this is a mistake. Would having both data warehouses work as a solution? Alternatively, how would I go about putting forward a case for one data warehouse over another? Could you tell me your thoughts on the relevant strengths/weaknesses of the two systems?
I completely understand why you would want to ask this question -- but sadly, I cannot give a sensible answer. Think about it this way: You have a problem with your Bentley (substitute the marque of your choice here) and you ring a car specialist:

"The car isn't running right," you say.

"If I were you, I'd replace the induction system with an alloy casting, change the supercharger ratio and fit new plugs," he replies.

This guy is either a genius or bluffing, and my guess is bluffing. He simply doesn't have enough information to make those recommendations. You can probably see my problem.

Can two data warehouses work in one company? Of course, I've worked with several companies that use an architecture like that. Is it right for your company? I honestly have no idea -- I would need much, much more information.

The strengths and weaknesses of the two systems? Again, the truth is that it depends on what you want from the system. As a trivial example, SAP is a German-based company. I know of German companies who see this as a major advantage for a number of cultural and language reasons. Is that a good fit for your company? I have no idea.

I'm not trying to be awkward here but I feel that any definitive answer to the above question with be painfully glib at best and misleading at worst.

However, all is not gloom and despondent. I can possibly help with your question, how would I go about putting forward a case for one data warehouse over another?

The big question, the only really meaningful question, about a data warehouse concerns ROI. How much did it cost and how much money is it saving, or costing the company? Ask that question about the two data warehouses.

More about data warehouses

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Data warehousing software update: Bill Inmon makes the case for DW 2.0
Data warehouse development: Four strategic steps

This was last published in February 2008

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