Have companies that have implemented data warehouses, particularly financial institutions, established a special data warehouse organization? If so, where should it report?


Sid Adelman's Answer: A data warehouse manager would have responsibility for all the data warehouse projects and would have responsibility for establishing the overall data warehouse architecture, infrastructure and standards, including the tools that will be used in all the data warehouse projects.

The best project implementations have been performed by small teams dedicated to specific data warehouse projects. The team is composed of the project manager, data administrator, DBA, ETL jockeys, BI specialist (access and analysis) and business analyst. A data quality administrator should also be part of the team. These people should report directly to the project manager for the duration of the project. The ideal sponsorship is a combination of IT and the business. This means that regardless of who holds the PA cards, the project manager should be reporting and communicating to the business sponsor and the IT sponsor, ideally the data warehouse manager.

Les Barbusinski's Answer: I've never seen an enterprise-level organization that administers a data warehouse from a business perspective. Within IT, yes ... but not within a business organization. Typically, a data warehouse services multiple departments and often multiple business units. Each business organization simply subscribes to the data warehouse services it needs and/or contracts with IT to have unique organizational requirements addressed. Individual business organizations may also have one or more power users who act as the focus point for data warehouse activities within that organization. In a few larger data warehouse implementations, I've seen steering committees created with representatives from across the enterprise (as well as IT) to prioritize initiatives for the data warehouse. But these committees are ad hoc in nature and don't usually appear on an org chart.

Hope this helps.

Larissa Moss' Answer: Yes, companies in all industries have established special data warehouse organizations. The majority of these new DW departments report to the CIO/CTO or one level below him/her in IT. I disagree with that placement. In my opinion, cross-organizational activities such as data warehousing, CRM and other business intelligence and enterprise architecture initiatives should not be managed under IT but under new chief officer leadership on the business side. That can occur in two ways: one is to separate the CIO function (strategic/tactical information resource management) from the CTO function (tactical/operational technology and application/database implementation), and the other is to create a CKO position (chief knowledge officer). The relationship between a CIO/CKO function (strategic/tactical direction) and CTO function (tactical/operational implementation) should be similar to the relationship that exists between a CFO function (strategic/tactical direction) and COO function (tactical/operational implementation).

Adrienne Tannenbaum's Answer: Some do, some don't. If so, this is typically an organization that reports or fits in to a data management organization or a database administration group. It really depends on whether or not primary responsibilities will rest on the business usage of the DW or the physical tuning and development of dimensions etc. Other options include new knowledge management groups, but the DW is typically only there for reporting and inclusion in larger enterprise data frameworks.

Scott Howard's Answer: Yes, they usually have. I've seen most report into IT with cross- functional participation from the business user community. The IT folks are the ones who have the skills and mission to design, build and maintain the DW, but as we advocate again and again, the success of your DW implementation relies heavily on active participation from the user community. Just as important is a cross functional executive advocacy team usually consisting of the CIO themselves and an executive from the user community, generally the CFO who usually is the key stakeholder for the financial benefits that can be derived from a successful DW.

Chuck Kelley's Answer: I believe that the data warehouse organization is in a separate organization with information technology (IT). There needs to be a steering committee made up of the user community and technologist to lead the project to successful completion.

Joe Oates' Answer: In my experience, some have and some have not; however, those that have set up a separate group have had a smoother ride than those that have not. A data warehouse project typically goes on for years, because the users always want additional capability over and above what the first implementation can provide.

It is important for management to understand that data warehouse implementation and enhancement requires a different set of skills than transaction processing systems do. Therefore, it is more economical and efficient for the organization to make sure that people with those skills are available when needed. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to have these trained and experienced people in a separate data warehouse group.

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