Editor’s Note: DMReview.com welcomes the return of Richard Kachur as an online columnist. His column, “The Data Warehouse Manager,” will focus on the data warehousing process from a number of different angles. There is nothing attempted with such trepidation, fear and loathing in IT than adopting a new paradigm, in this case embracing data warehousing. To truly and properly support this technology requires radical change to a number of IT business practices including systems building methodology, required IT expertise at all levels, and negotiations with and information services provisions to your business customers. How you communicate with and engage your vendors will also require change in that the target architecture may not be fully appreciated until one or more iterations of the data warehouse are deployed.
Over the next few columns we are going to break down this problem and develop an action plan to be used as a guide to navigate our way through this seemingly overwhelming change process. But, as in any project, we need to determine a point of departure. One of the first questions to ask ourselves is how able is our IT department to properly embrace and support the change? Can they deal with it all? Remember, most of us were brought up in a transaction processing world and not in information provisioning. We were taught to create efficient, normalized databases which would speedily capture data and keep data anomalies (errors) to a minimum. The application systems we built were business- process centric and, therefore, we did not need to overly concern ourselves with the ability to provide a corporate-wide view to information. After all, our marketing department and accounting department could never agree on anything anyway, so why get in the middle? And since we needed to develop rigorous coding requirements for our new systems, it was not necessary to be in constant touch with those horribly demanding users until the systems was ready to be tested. We could take all the time we needed to redo, plan, test and do it all over again. Life was good.
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