Thursday, March 29, 2007

My DW success story

Data warehousing does have an influence on the society.

This one I noted in Finland after having created a DW for the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (in Finnish MTK). See the chart below (FYI, texts are in Finnish).

In 2005, timber price (fir, pine) was less than 48 €/m3. After reports and charts (such as the one above) were published on the web in the end of 2005, log prices have risen more than 20% soon breaking up 60 €/m3.

What happened? Before the system was published 300,000 (three hundred thousand) Finnish forest owners were in bad market situation against three giant pulp mill companies that buy most of timber. By voluntarily sharing price information the forest owners as well as their local associations became more aware about the market. (There was also other factors increasing log price such as a change in forest taxation, but that's another story.)

Technically, the data is extracted from the databases of 150 timber associations around the country (each association decides how often). If a forest owner uses the local association to sell timber (40% of cases), the data is later on loaded into a central database (we use our own ETL tool JobRunner for that). Finally, the Voyant OLAP tool made it possible to publish the information clearly on MTK's website.

By the way, the three pulp mill companies are now in court accused of controlling log prices against antitrust laws (more information here). Will there emerge a new timber purchasing cartel in Finland some day? Because of the DW, I doubt.

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