Two primary factors for the success of data warehouse are a strong partnership between the business and systems communities, and ensuring that the project is driven by true business requirements, says Laura L. Reeves in ‘A Manager’s Guide to Data Warehousing’ (www.wileyindia.com). These two major success factors have more to do with people than technology, she adds.
Partnerships between the business stakeholders and the technology units often start out strong in the beginning, the author finds. “There is joint participation in developing a project’s scope and objectives. A business sponsor may be designated and may help launch the project.”
But, importantly, when the project is underway, the business community should not sit back and wait for the next briefing from IT, cautions Reeves. “Now is the time to dig in and help the project move forward. This includes gathering true business requirements and assisting with understanding the data and helping to make decisions along the way.”
Her simple counsel is that staying involved in a project on a daily or weekly basis ensures a good understanding of what is happening on a project. “A strong partnership that includes a lot of mutual involvement also builds ownership of the data warehouse across the business group.”
True business requirements, which constitute the second success factor, are not a list of data elements, data sources, or even reports, Reeves notes. “These requirements must be more fundamental to the business itself. For example, the need to better measure marketing campaign performance, understand and better manage loss ratios, and understand and track student performance are all business reasons that explain the need for gathering data and generating a report, in contrast to a demand to ‘give me the numbers.’”
In a section about communication, the author invites you to take a look at any project plan, and see how many tasks are focused on communication – that is, people – compared to technical tasks. While technical tasks are indeed important, specific actions to ensure meaningful communication are critical to the project’s success, she emphasises.
Successful communication, as Reeves explains, is not simply conducting project status meetings and sending out project status reports. “Those are indeed important communication vehicles, but the intended audience for those is the project team and project management personnel. Regular communication provides the best vehicle for questions and concerns to be raised and then addressed. This helps expectations to be managed.”
Also, check if the communication among the team members is open. Which means the teams are encouraged to share both good news and bad news, the author elaborates. For, openly admitting that a problem exists provides the opportunity for others in the organisation to help provide solutions, she reasons.