Q:

What are the various phases in implementing a data warehouse solution? What are the various technologies / tools available for each phase? Please provide me with resources to answer these questions and at least a sample set of technologies.

A:

Sid Adelman’s Answer: The phases of implementing a data warehouse can be found in The Business Intelligence Roadmap by Larissa Moss and Shaku Atre, and the Corporate Information Factory by W.H. Inmon, Claudia Imhoff and Ryan Sousa.

For the tools, go to www.tdan.com, click on the Company and Product Center and you will see the categories of tools (DBMS, ETL, BI, etc.) and the products within each category.

Clay Rehm’s Answer: The phases in implementing a data warehouse solution are similar to the phases in the systems development methodology (SDM) and systems development life cycle (SDLC). Of course, both of these need to work hand in hand with a project management methodology (PMM). Go to www.pmi.org for more information regarding managing projects and even consider joining PMI.

The major phases include project definition, requirements, analysis, design, development, testing, implementation and post-implementation. There are many different techniques for how each of these phases are actually implemented. For example, I like to employ prototyping during the analysis phase to get a better understanding of how the system will be used.

The area that needs most of your attention will be the requirements phase. It is up to you and your project team to accurately and thoroughly define the requirements of the system. Each and every single one of your requirements must be 1) achievable, 2) measurable and 3) testable. A requirement of "making the client happy" is not achievable, measurable or testable!

Your question focuses on what technologies are needed. This is impossible to answer. Before you know what the requirements of the system are, you should not even be entertaining thoughts of which technologies are needed! This kind of thinking will get you in trouble and always gets most IT people in trouble. What solution does the business need? That should be what you are trying to solve.

Finally, if you don’t have experience building a data warehouse, then you must retain someone who has done it successfully before. At a minimum, bring in an expert to assist with the project planning, the requirements and the technical architecture.

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