Two data warehouse (DW) analysts are camping deep in the forest. Their sleep is interrupted abruptly when a man-eating bear attacks their tent and rips it to pieces. The first DW analyst leaps out of his sleeping bag and runs down the trail for help. Meanwhile, the second DW analyst calmly grabs his running shoes and laces them up while seated at the picnic table. The first DW analyst returns screaming,"What are you doing? We've got to run away from that man-eating bear as fast as possible, and you are wasting time with your shoes!" The second DW analyst smugly replies, "That's always been your downfall--the failure to understand the problem. My problem is not that I have to outrun a man-eating bear--I just have to outrun YOU!"

Many times technical support staffs become focused on the technical solution that a DW can provide rather than the business value. Failure to understand the business problem first launches projects that are technical successes but business failures. History rewards few efforts that maximize performance for multi-table joins at the expense of accurate sales results by region. Business value begins with a solid understanding and validation of the true problem. Business users need data that is flexible, accurate and timely to access. Many times the true business value lies hidden below the surface. Incremental implementation of business value allows validation of both technical and business assumptions and reduces risks that can crater a DW project.

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