Continue in 2 seconds

I want to know how to estimate the total project cost to implement a data warehouse.

  • Sid Adelman, Clay Rehm
  • December 02 2002, 1:00am EST


I want to know how to estimate the total project cost to implement a data warehouse. Are there any tools available to estimate the project cost, specifically for data warehouses or for related projects?


Sid Adelman’s Answer: You first need to identify all the costs associated with your data warehouse project. This template is taken from Data Warehouse Project Management by Sid Adelman and Larissa Moss.

To determine the cost of a data warehouse list the expense, calculate the price and then compute the dollar amount. Here is a list of possible expenses:

  • CPU
    • Maintenance
    • Internal support
  • Disk
    • Maintenance
    • Internal support
  • Network
    • Maintenance
    • Internal support
  • Desktops
    • Maintenance
    • Internal support
  • Products/Tools
    • RDBMS
      • Maintenance
      • Internal support

    • Modeling tool
      • Maintenance
      • Internal support
    • Query/Report
      • Maintenance
      • Internal Support
    • ETL
      • Maintenance
      • Internal support
    • Other tool 1
      • Maintenance
      • Internal support
    • Other tool 2
      • Maintenance
      • Internal support
  • Contracting
  • Consulting
  • Internal people cost
  • IT training
  • User training

Be sure to consider the costs of maintaining the system post-implementation. These significant costs are frequently not considered in the total cost of ownership. These costs include the following:

  • Administrative costs
  • Help desk (user support)
  • Software upgrades
  • DBAs responsible for monitoring and tuning the system
  • Incorporating new requests
  • Ongoing training of new users
  • Software maintenance costs

Clay Rehm’s Answer: I am not aware of any specific tool. However, the PMI ( Project Management Methodology provides a road map on how to best plan and manage a project. Any data warehouse effort is a project and needs the rigor and discipline offered by solid project management.

Data warehouse projects are large integration projects, and the reason they fail is that is quite difficult to gain cooperation and coordination among many disparate groups. Every data warehouse project I have worked on has been different from each other. The areas that are common are the definition stages and planning. I don’t know how many people are affected by your project, the scope, how many integration points, so it is impossible to have a standard template for estimating.

Even after you develop an estimate during your planning stage, you will most likely have to revise that estimate after more data analysis has been performed. An initial assessment always needs to be completed first to identify, define and broadly estimate the project. The assessment will provide really one goal which is to proceed or not to proceed (go/no go).

The problem with an assessment is that they are usually not detailed enough because the client does not want to spend the time and money doing the proper investigation. Thus the estimates provided from the assessment are someone’s best guess at the time.

The challenge of a data warehouse project is that you are working with used data. There is no new data and you have to rely on the data, structures and systems that are already entrenched. It is not like estimating the cost to build a new house.

Bottom line – a data warehouse project really needs a project manager who can track and keep up with all the necessary tasks needed. A good data warehouse architect is needed to oversee and implement the complicated design.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Information Management content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access