Building a data warehouse involves large teams working simultaneously on various activities. Following is the list of activities that should be performed before building a data warehouse, with their recommended sequence.
Create business cases
The work of building a data warehouse always starts with creating business cases. The business case can be of building a new decision support system or migrating existing business intelligence systems to a more strategic platform. It can be of building a regulatory compliance reporting solution. It can be of creating a robust data foundation for building analytical models or a data driven products. It can be of building a strategic enterprise wide data warehousing solution.
Build the high level solution approach
A high level solution approach involves identifying the way data warehousing solution will be designed. This is greatly influenced by the vision, roadmap and principles of the overall enterprise information technology architecture. Key decisions to make is whether to go with a top down approach or a bottom up approach. What technologies are going to be used, and what is the high level architecture template that will be followed for implementing the solution.
Engage with business users
It is necessary to understand the users who will be using the data from the data warehouse. It is necessary to understand how they currently do their jobs and how will the new solution change the way they do their job. It is necessary to articulate and quantify the benefits associated with the new solution, and communicate the same to the user community. It is necessary to correctly position the new solution, and build a channel to continuously engage and take feedback from the users.
It is necessary to understand the impact of the new solution to the business users personal priorities and ensure that there is a favourable acceptance to the new proposed solution. It is necessary to identify the key business users who will participate in the implementation of the solution, and get them involved right from the start.
Build the execution strategy
Based on the business case, it is necessary to create a list of critical success factors that will determine the success of the implementation. The business stakeholders should be identified. The execution strategy, roadmap and milestones should be defined and agreed among all stakeholders. This is greatly influenced by the budget, sponsorships, timelines, scope, urgency, importance, push from business, push from management and their expectations etc. This may involve over-riding certain aspects of the high level solution to create a tactical implementation to meet certain urgent requirements, while creating a roadmap for the strategic implementation.
Depending to the availability of technical teams and business teams, work items should be allocated to individual teams. Responsibilities of various stakeholders should be defined within the organization and budgets should be allocated. Product vendors should be identified for procuring the products, if needed. System integrators should identified to outsource the building of the data warehouse, if required. Work Streams should be formed, milestones should be defined, and teams should be formed and mobilised.