Marts and Mines

Data tools continue to evolve

Santa Cruz, CA  July 16, 2001  While deployment of sophisticated tools for mining the value of data businesses collect is growing rapidly, tools for efficient data collection within the enterprise are still evolving, a new study of more than 600 software developers finds.

The survey of developers actively involved in database applications noticed a dramatic uptick in usage of both data warehouses and data marts, two increasingly popular methods for converting corporate data into improved efficiency and productivity. At the same time, automated methods for data discovery for data warehouses are still in rudimentary stages according to an Evans Data Corporation study published today.

Data warehouses are defined as central repositories for all or significant parts of the data that an enterprise's various business systems collect. Data marts are repositories of data gathered from operational data and other sources designed to serve a particular community of knowledge workers.

Completed in June 2001, the "Database Developer Survey" found 60 percent of database developers currently make use of data warehouses or data marts, with almost 20 percent using both. In the next two years, 40 percent of developers expected to be using both, according to the study.

Surveyed about methods for data discovery for data warehouses, developers said they have not adopted effective means for gathering this information, despite the growing recognition of the importance of gathering and managing information and intelligence and centralizing it.

Of the developers who responded to questions about their data discovery methods, almost half said they use no method or don't know how the data is collected. Of those companies that do use some sort of method for collecting this information, the largest segment (20 percent) uses a voluntary program relying on individual contributors.

"Now that the Y2K scare is 18 months behind us, corporate investment in building knowledge repositories seems to be fully underway," said Evans Data Corporation analyst Shari Buckner. "While the study shows that businesses have taken to heart the old adage that 'information is power,' it also demonstrates the need for discovery tools to automate the enterprise's data collection process."

The "Database Developer Survey" is conducted twice a year with database developers in North America. Topics include platform use and migration, which databases are being used, connectivity and architectures, mobile database development, Internet, tools use and requirements, and language use.