One of the keys to successful data warehousing is to consider the consumer of the products from the warehouse. Originally the thought was that senior management would be the consumer of the products in the form of management reports or dashboards. While this is often true, the business analyst is more likely the consumer or user. Often the analyst is in marketing or sales.
One characteristic of business these days is rapid change and the question you have today may not be the question in the next quarter. To be effective the answers to questions must be answered quickly. The general rule of thumb in the BI world is three months. That means that the whole project from requirements to answering the question takes three months or less. That is quite a challenge for a conventional IT organization which is responsible for the data warehouse. New data is likely needed. Requirements need to be understood. Data imported and reports or dashboards produced. However business value is often time sensitive. Developing a methodology that produces rapid results is critical. Projects that take too long find that the requirements keep changing as time marches on.
I suggests that we need good tools and creative people who can produce results quickly. The ways these things can be implemented depend on the organization. I think that if the data warehousing organization cannot be nimble and responsive, the user will turn to spread sheets and other stand alone applications which do not help the overall business.
The vision of the business leadership and the IT leadership will be critical in producing results. However the development methodology must be responsive to the consumer.
The theme of rapid results is one that Project X Ltd. considers very important and demands innovative approaches. The use of agile methods can help but the idea must be part of the fundamental beliefs of the data warehousing organization.
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