Is it possible to make a data model before an ERP system implementation and a data warehouse?


Chuck Kelley’s Answer: I would think that you would always want to create a data model (even though it will change) before implementing any type of system – whether ERP, transaction system or a data warehouse.

Larissa Moss's Answer: Not only is it possible, but it is also highly desirable. In my opinion, too many companies rush into a conversion project or into a new development project without spending sufficient time on business analysis. A normalized logical data model should be prepared, which describes the functional -- as well as data -- requirements within the scope of the project. If an ERP system is being evaluated or puchased, the denormalized physical data model (the logical database design of the target databases) should be compared to the logical data model to see if all requirements can be satisfied by the ERP system or if gaps exist. If a new database is created for the data warehouse environment (ODS, EDW or data mart), the logical data model will serve as the foundation for the target database designs, regardless whether a two-dimensional relational design is chosen or a multidimensional star schema. For a two-dimensional relational design, you would use conventional denormalization rules, as applicable to your DBMS, to create the physical data model, and for a multidimensional design you would use the star schema or snowflake rules, with the entities of the normalized logical data model serving as your basic conforming dimensions.

Douglas Hackney’s Answer: It is essential that the data warehouse data model is created before the data warehouse construction begins (always architect first, build second). With an ERP package, you are often buying a predesigned, packaged model that you may or may not choose to modify to better suit your particular needs.

Clay Rehm’s Answer: I would highly recommend that a data model, a data flow model and a process model be developed before even considering an ERP system and/or a data warehouse. Often times the assumption is made to buy or build some solution before truly identifying the current environment and the business pain. I am assuming you have identified and documented the business pain (the reason you are implementing an ERP system and data warehouse).

The documents you create will be based on the needs of your organization, not the vendor you choose to implement your solution. Your models and documents will be vendor independent.

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