Q:  

Because of competition, we’re moving more into the retail industry, and need to alter our data warehouse to suit. We currently have a solution based around old legacy operational systems (which now have a finite shelf life). Our new customer- focused operational systems will involve CRM and outsource (via ASPs) systems. As a result of this changing infrastructure, we’re assuming its back to the drawing board for the data warehouse! Have you any general recommendations as to how we need to proceed?

A:  

Sid Adelman’s Answer: Outsourcing a data warehouse is very tricky. It’s difficult to control the outsourcer. It sounds like your challenge will be to communicate and get a commitment from the application service provider (ASP) for what you need – including your need to be flexible. This must include your ability to make timely changes and additions (without breaking your budget) since it will be impossible to anticipate all you will need up front. Be aware that the divorce from an outsourcer can be ugly and expensive.

Chuck Kelley’s Answer: This is not a major problem. Do the needs of the current data warehouse solve any of the needs of the data warehouse in the future? Are you just changing the operational system? I am hoping that your new customer- focused operational system is feeding your CRM (and thus the data warehouse)? My recommendation is to step back and look at the current needs. It may be that scrapping the current data warehouse is the "right" thing, but I would doubt it. Gather the requirements for the new system and see if there is anything in the current data warehouse that would be useful. I believe you will find that there is more there that is useful, than not. Good luck!

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