Sustaining Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence

Learn How To Deliver On Going Results with Your Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Solution

David Haertzen David Haertzen, Principal Enterprise Architect

Are you concerned that your data warehousing and business intelligence effort could "lose steam" and grind to a halt?  Remember that success is based on the 80/20 rule - 80% of success is based on people and process factors while only 20% of success is based on technology.

BI / Data Warehousing People and Process Tips

The most critical factors in the success of business intelligence and data warehousing are people and process oriented.  To maintain the "political will" to keep the BI / DW initiative moving forward, be sure to:

  • Communicate - stay "top of mind"
  • Maintain executive support
  • Support enterprise strategies and mission
  • Focus on business needs and pain points
  • Relate to business capabilities and process
  • Add value beyond standard reporting
  • Build in manageable sized pieces
  • Expand audience through training
  • Obtain and keep funding
  • Identify quantifiable measures
  • Under promise and over deliver

Successful BI / DW initiatives are led through an on going governance process with buy in from top executives.  The Return On Investment (ROI) from a winning program can be high (100 to over 1000%) and so earn executive support.

BI / Data Warehousing People and Process Traps

Disregarding or minimizing the importance of people and process is often at the heart of failed BI / DW efforts.  Put people and process first to avoid these traps:

  • Work in the background, keeping it quiet
  • Focus on technology rather than the business
  • Talk in generalities and principles
  • "Build it and they will come"
  • Use "Big Bang" implementation
  • Assume that benefits are intuitively obvious
  • Use informal organization instead of governance

Failing BI / DW initiative often lose touch with the organization that they should be helping.

BI / Data Warehousing Technology Tips

Technology is a necessary part of winning BI / DW projects.  While technology by itself can not make the project a success, poorly chosen or utilized technology can be a killer.  Use technology appropriately by:

  • Monitor the data warehouse performance
  • Enable self service
  • Secure the data warehouse
  • Add processing capacity to support user community
  • Add storage capacity to satisfy growing data needs
  • Monitor errors and correct root causes
  • Use proven architectural patterns
  • Build a federated architecture to support varied environments and requirements

The need for technical resources often skyrockets for the successful BI / DW effort.  More and more people access the system, increasing the need for processing power.  Also, the amount of data storage needed increases as further detail is captured.

BI / Data Warehousing Technology Traps

Improper technology or an over emphasis on technology can drag down the BI / DW system.  Avoid these traps:

  • Ignore increases in system use
  • Ignore performance measures
  • Avoid upgrades
  • Engage in "Religious Technology Wars"
  • Acquire incompatible software or hardware

The winning Business Intelligence / Data Warehousing effort focuses on the highest priority areas (people and process) while doing a good job with technology.  Making the right moves while avoiding the bad plays should lead to victory.



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