At a recent conference, one of the attendees asked me why it takes so long to develop a data model that can be used for designing the data structures for a data warehouse or data mart. To answer this question, we should consider the major steps involved in developing the data model and how long each step should take. For simplicity, we'll use the following steps, recognizing that these are high-level groupings and that the specific steps may vary based on the governing methodology and architecture:

In my experience, the first two steps contribute the most to the time it takes to develop the data model. Requirements and business rules gathering: Before data modeling work can begin, the data modeler needs to understand requirements from three different aspects. On the surface, the primary driver may appear to be a determination of the data that is needed, but that only scratches the surface. The needed data elements determine the attributes (columns) that must be included in the data model and their placement within a normalized model. They do not, however, contribute to the overall structure.

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