Data warehouse needs and expectations are changing – Gartner

The relationship between IT and the business is changing, and if IT doesn't let the business work how it wants the workers will only take matters into their own hands, Gartner has warned.

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The relationship between IT and the business is changing, and if IT doesn't let the business work how it wants the workers will only take matters into their own hands, Gartner has warned.

Speaking at Partners, the annual user conference of data warehousing vendor Teradata, Donald Feinberg said companies needed to start paying closer attention to their data warehouses because anything more than 10 years old was unlikely to be meet with the needs and expectations of today's users.

Even clients with data warehouses just five years old were telling him they're not working anymore, said Feinberg., because they could no longer handle the loads and do the job needed.

"We just didn't know 10 years ago what we'd be doing with data warehouses today," said Feinberg. "We barely even called them data warehouses then."

Feinberg said not long ago there was no talk of high availability or mission critical disaster recovery in relation to data warehouses either, but things had changed. By the close of 2009, he said, 90% of leading global firms would have at least one mission critical business application reliant on the data warehouse – and that, in turn, makes the data warehouse itself mission critical.

"The bottom line is data warehouses are mission critical, it's that simple," said Feinberg, "If you don't build them as integrated mission critical systems they will become a point of failure."

And while the mission of re-architecting and rebuilding the data warehouse would inevitably fall to IT, Feinberg said it needs to be a business-led initiative. Consulting with the business just won't be enough.

"Talking doesn't do anything," said Feinberg. "You need to work with business, and business needs to run the project if it's going to be successful."

"The bottom line is, if you don't do it correctly and with [end users] they're going to do it themselves," said Feinberg."Everything must now be designed around the worker."

And Feinberg said the trend would only become more marked. In five years the average person working on the business side wouldl have grown up in the information age and be more tech savvy than ever before.

"Do you think you're going to be able to tell someone like that use this program to do your job?" asked Feinberg. "It doesn't work that way, because if they don't like it they're going to find some other way to do it on their own."

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