Some experts counsel that when companies build their first data warehouse they should primarily hire new people who are already "data warehouse ready" with data warehouse experience. This often means that good in-house employees are often overlooked. While it is important to have a well-trained staff, I recommend using your quality in-house personnel and making them "data warehouse ready."
Your organization's data warehouse has a good chance of being successful if you purchase the right database, utilize good people, give them a good education and use experienced consultants. Data warehousing is big business, big money and well worth doing right.
The first ingredient is to start with smart in-house personnel. Give the people who have worked hard for you and understand your organization an opportunity to learn leading-edge technology. They are already the best choice because they have a better understanding of your business and already know the people involved and the current system. They are likely to stick around for the long run and have been loyal to the organization. Employees love new opportunities, and this keeps their jobs exciting and challenging. After all, a data warehouse is about running your business, not a generic one.
Over 800 successful customers have utilized the NCR Teradata database as the foundation for their decision support systems (DSS) data warehouse. The Teradata database manages the most difficult pieces in the data warehouse for you. It combines parallel processing speed, the most advanced and experienced DSS optimizer in the industry, easy system administration and seamless scalability. These features have been continually improved and are essential in building a successful data warehouse. Although building the data warehouse is critical to success, the focus should be on solving your business problems--and Teradata allows you to do just that.
In addition, I recommend using professional services or an experienced consultant to help you with your relational and physical modeling. It is important to do this step right. Getting a sound data model for your business and sound advice will provide an enormous return on investment.
Your investment in a good consultant should focus on initial design and knowledge transfer. Find someone who has data warehouse experience and let them get your staff "data warehouse ready." After a few months, you will be able to function and enhance your data warehouse on your own.
Provide your team with a great data warehouse education. Building their data warehouse knowledge will build their confidence and interest. Poor education is a waste of money. Good education is worth its weight in gold.
The following is a menu of suggested educational criteria for your data warehouse personnel:
- All personnel involved in data warehousing:
Have everyone who will be involved with the data warehouse take an introduction class. Everyone should understand the big picture and their individual responsibilities.
- Operations staff:
Your operational personnel should receive both the introduction class and a hands-on operations class. A basic knowledge of system administration and UNIX or NT is important.
- System Administration:
The NCR Teradata database is designed to manage large amounts of data with easy system administration. You will only need a few system administrators for both Teradata and the operating system. It is a good idea to have a backup plan and use a couple of administrators for the operating system. Your Teradata system administrator should receive the introduction, operational and database administration classes, but also take advanced system administration. The UNIX or NT system administrator should have a thorough knowledge of UNIX or NT and UNIX or NT System Administration. In a very short time, with the right training, these administrators will be able to share dual roles.
- Utilities personnel:
Personnel who will be responsible for loading the data from the mainframe to the Teradata database should take a utilities class. This class will teach them the most efficient way to use the Teradata utilities. A basic knowledge of SQL is also essential.
- System users:
System users querying the database should be trained on SQL. You will need a basic SQL course for beginners and an advanced course for experienced system users. Many users will merely need to see differences and extensions of the Teradata SQL. System users should be pleased with information they can now receive.
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