For utility and energy companies considering a business intelligence solution such as a data warehouse, here are ten tips that will help to ensure a successful implementation: 1. Involve the Business Users. Get the users involved early on in the project and regularly throughout development. For larger companies, consider forming a core team of strategic users that have the vision to know how the data warehouse will benefit the company and can make rational decisions related to scope and priorities. Even if your company currently has a data warehouse or data mart, interview representative users from each functional area to identify significant changes in the decision-making process. Use the findings from these interviews to challenge each of the original requirements for the data warehouse.

2. But, Don't Expect Them to Have All the Answers. Be prepared to face users that do not fully know their requirements. There are a number of reasons for this: the business may have recently changed, new processes may have been put into place or new roles might have been assigned. On the other hand, users may simply not understand the concept of a data warehouse or other analytical store of business data. Thus they can't verbalize how they would like to see the information. Even if users appear to know their needs, be prepared for change. Better yet, embrace it! With deregulation, new products will be introduced, others will be terminated, competition will be an everyday reality along with pressure to maintain cost control. Users' needs can fluctuate wildly throughout this process.

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