Q: I am in the process of preparing a list of questions that I can ask my customer once he approaches me to build a data warehouse for him. The questions should help me to understand his requirements in such a way, that I can then prepare a proposal and estimate efforts that would be required for the project. Can you help me with some questions that I can put into this questionnaire?

Sid Adelman's Answer:

These are a starter set of questions you might consider.

1. Would you give a brief description of your information requirements?
2. What is the source of the data you will be accessing?
3. Is this a one-time or an ongoing requirement? If this is an ongoing requirement, will it be on a regularly scheduled basis or as requested? If it is be regularly scheduled, what will be the frequency (daily, weekly, monthly)?
4. How do you want the data delivered (hard copy, emailed, through the portal)?
5. Would you like to see the results as a visual (graph, pie chart)?
6. Who will be receiving the results (besides yourself)?
7. How timely (current) do you want your data to be (for example, last night, the last Friday of the month)?
8. How accurate does the data have to be?
9. Do you plan to run the query/report yourself or will you expect some other group such as IT to run it?
10. Are there security issues that must be considered?
11. Are there requirements based on "Management Assessment of Internal Controls"? (Section 404 of Sarbanes Oxley mandates that management must certify the effectiveness of the organization's internal controls that would encompass the security, availability and integrity of how financial reporting is done.)

Joe Oates' Answer:

The list of questions really depends on what business area and business process is of interest to your customer. What most users of the data warehouse want to know includes: who did something; what did they do; where did they do it; how much of it did they do; all with the goal of understanding why did they do it; and various permutations. The "who" and "they" can refer to people, organizations, organizational units or households.

For example, a sales manager might want to know sales by product, by store, by sales region, by salesperson. For an example set of interview questions, take a look at page 105 in the Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit by Ralph Kimball, et al. Of course, these are just example questions and may not be exactly what you're looking for. However, they should give you a general idea.

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