Selecting data warehouse software is always a chore, and the process can often delay a project. This article will focus on the process of reference checking. Most organizations acknowledge that they will check references; but the reference-checking process is often disorganized and in many cases abandoned – sometimes because the organization already knows the vendor/product it wants to choose. Let's be clear, the right data warehouse software is a critical success factor for every data warehouse project. Without proper reference checking, the organization has not performed the due diligence required for such important decisions. There is an additional benefit to reference checking: You will pick up lessons learned and best practices that go beyond the best set of tools.

Reference checking is by far the most cost effective, accurate and shortest route to evaluating products and vendors. Let's look at the alternatives. Note that none of these are mutually exclusive with reference checking, but they may not be necessary.

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