Within large organisations data often gets fragmented and isolated within different departments, making it almost impossible to make well informed decisions. Data warehouses are used to store operational and transaction data in a consistent and reliable way, so it can be used for formal and informal reporting. It is basically a database of current and historical data, which can come from both internal and external sources such as the Internet. This data is all standardised and can be accessed when needed, but once it is stored in the data warehouse it can not be changed.

A data warehouse would be of great advantage to an organisation like BIFHE, as it would make the provision and distribution of appropriate information very efficient and easily manageable. It would allow high-level management reports with great detail and the ability to 'drill down'. Below is a diagram of a typical data warehouse system. Briefly explain the role that the Internet and Intranet could play a part in the search, retrieval, and distribution of information. Intranet and Internet

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The role that the Internet and Intranet play in today's business world can best be illustrated by looking at a scenario where they are not used and comparing the two. Before the Internet became such a heavily used computing tool there where two main areas of disadvantage, communication and knowledge sharing. Companies would run their business on the assumption that there would have to be lots of meetings to bring people and information together. Although face to face meetings are still essential in some cases it is definitely an advantage to try and have as few as possible.

They cost not only valuable man-hours, but can also be expensive in terms of money. People may need to travel to get to a meeting and if the meeting is long running there may be a requirement for food and/or accommodation. The knowledge base of an organisation is also at a disadvantage, as there is no central resource for storing and accessing this information. For example, one department of a company may come across a problem and spend X amount of time and money trying to solve it, when another department may have already created a working solution.

Without up to date communication and knowledge sharing solutions, this situation is hard to avoid. Therefore it is easy to see how tools like Intranet and Internet facilities can be a huge advantage to large organisations. The Intranet, for example, can be a wealth of information about the company and the departments within it for all employees and only employees to access. The Internet can then back that up by providing excellent communication tools such as email, video-conferencing and GroupWare.

The Internet is also an incredible research tool, which allows users to find and manipulate information on just about anything. An organisation like BIFHE could also use the Internet for e-commerce, allowing them to expand their business without having to build or move. As long as you have the logistics in place you can use e-commerce to reach customers anywhere in the world, therefore increasing sales and broadening your customer base. Below is a diagram of a typical client server based web system.