Planning for a Data Warehouse

Starting a Data Warehousing Project? Three words - Plan, Plan and Plan!

By Daniel Chen

Data Warehousing have been voted the most complex and resource intensive software projects by CIOs of Fortune 1000 companies. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations top the list.

Data Warehousing comes in all shapes and sizes, which bear a direct relationship to cost and time involved. The approach to starting a Data Warehousing project will vary and the steps listed below are summary of some of the points to consider.

1) Get Professional Advice

Data Warehousing makes a great difference is the lead has been there and done that. It will save a huge bundle to get professional advice upfront. Endless meeting times can be saved and the risk of an abandon data warehousing project can be reduced.

2) Plan the Data

Know what metrics you want to measure in the Data Warehouse and ensure that there is the appropriate data to provide for the analysis. If you wish to obtain periodic Key Performance Index (KPI) data for shipping logistics, make sure that the appropriate data is piped into the data warehouse.

3) Who will use the Data Warehouse

The power Data Warehouse consumers are business and financial managers. Data Warehouses are meant to deliver clear indications on how the business is performing. Plot out the expected users for the Data Warehouse in the enterprise. Gauge that they will have the appropriate reports in a format which is quickly understandable. Ensure that planning exercises are conducted in advance to accumulate scenarios on how the Data Warehouse will be used. Always remember that data has to be presented attractively and in a format business managers will feel comfortable. Text files with lines of numbers will not suffice!

4) Intergration to External Applications

Most Data Warehousing projects sink or swim by their ability to extract data from external applications. Enterprises have a slew of applications either developed inhouse or obtain from a vendor. Conceptually, your Data Warehouse will act as the heart to diverse applications running in the enterprise. All important data will flow in or out of the Data Warehouse.

5) Technology, What Technology?

At the bits and bytes level, a Data Warehouse is a souped up database. It will be built from one of the major Relational Database Management System (DBMS) vendors like OracleIBM, Microsoft. Open source databases, like mySQL, can also support Data Warehousing with the right support in place.

Please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.