14.5. INFORMATION DELIVERY TOOLS
As we have indicated earlier, the success of your data warehouse rides on the strengths of the information delivery tools. If the tools are effective, usable, and enticing, your users will come to the data warehouse often. You have to select the information delivery tools with great care and thoroughness. We will discuss this very important consideration in sufficient detail.
Information delivery tools come in different formats to serve various purposes. The principal class of tools comprises query or data access tools. This class of tools enables the users to define, formulate, and execute queries and obtain results. Other types are the report writers or reporting tools for formatting, scheduling, and running reports. Other tools specialize in complex analysis. A few tools combine the different features so that your users may learn to use a single tool for queries and reports. More commonly, you will find more than one information delivery tool used in a single data warehouse environment.
Information delivery tools typically perform two functions: they translate the user requests of queries or reports into SQL statements and send these to the DBMS; they receive results from the data warehouse DBMS, format the result sets in suitable outputs, and present the results to the users. Usually, the requests to the DBMS retrieve and manipulate large volumes of data. Compared to the volumes of data retrieved, the result sets contain much lesser data.