Many large organizations are preparing or executing projects with the aim to improve business intelligence (BI) delivery by implementing a data warehouse on an enterprise scale. However, in practice, it proves to be very difficult to bring such ambitious projects to a successful implementation. In my opinion, there are four main reasons for this lack of success (or at least the problems that are encountered):

A Dutch proverb says, "He who pays for the music will determine the song that is played." Money for IT projects is raised by the business based on the added value as it is perceived by the future users of the results of the projects. At least, that should be the way it works. In case of a data warehouse, the future user group consists of the management and their supporting staff. The logic of an enterprise data warehouse, the single version of the truth and the optimization of the data flows between sources and the BI application, is in itself clear and in fact indisputable. But then another phenomenon comes into play, and for this one of my former managers had a saying: "Managers and children have one thing in common, once they want something they want it right away." An enterprise data warehouse is just one of those things you can't have right away. On top of that, managers have an information need, which - for the most part - is fluid, subject to fast and unexpected changes and of an unpredictable nature. At the same time, this information need has to be satisfied now. And so the temptation is large to built or maintain - in spite of the bigger picture - another homegrown shortcut next to the enterprise initiative.

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