The Corporate Information Factory architecture provides organizations with a sustainable process for systems development that allows both current and future information needs to be met. However, developing and operating the Corporate Information Factory does represent a significant investment. Success in this endeavor requires that the organization clearly define its data warehousing strategy and establish the appropriate governance facilities. Defining the role of the data warehouse, identifying and communicating its benefits and uses, and establishing a program management structure are all essential activities when building a business intelligence environment. Intelligent Solutions, Inc. (ISI) provides a consulting service designed to assist organizations in launching their data warehousing programs. This service, the Data Warehouse Strategy Development engagement, is structured to help the organization quickly define and agree on a mission, charter, and set of guiding principles for its data warehouse environment. The engagement also focuses on educating the business and IT communities on the basic concepts of data warehousing, and it helps the organization to set up the governance mechanisms required to launch and maintain a data warehouse environment.
Strategy development engagements are typically completed in one to two weeks. Each engagement typically consists of strategy development, presentation, and knowledge transfer.
- Strategy development is lead by the ISI consultant and is designed to stimulate the development of the data warehouse definition, charter, mission statement, and guiding principles. The session (s) can also be used to define the governance facilities. ISI can utilize its library of best practice templates to jump-start the development and definition activities. Templates include data warehouse constructs, sample mission statements, starter lists of guiding principles, and roles and responsibilities for governance organizations.
- Presentation is accomplished through the delivery of a findings and recommendations document and formal or informal presentations.
- Knowledge transfer is accomplished through the interaction of ISI’s consultants with company personnel and will focus on basic data warehouse constructs, governance requirements, and benefits of a business intelligence environment.
The engagement is performed on a time-boxed basis, and entails 2-3 days of consulting effort. The schedule is dependent on the availability of the key people involved. ISI strives to structure these engagements so that they can be completed within a two-week timeframe. A two-week engagement typically consists of the following schedule:
- Prior to arrival – identify participants, schedule interviews (optional) and sessions and review relevant documents
- Facilitated Session (2 days) – the session will be conducted over a 2 day period and will typically consist of the following topics (note that ISI can work with the client to set a different agenda or change the topics of emphasis):
- Informal education on topics such as the business value of the enterprise data warehouse, data warehouse strategy components, case studies from other companies, etc.
- Development of a mission statement and set of guiding principles (draft)
- Identification of formal education that is needed
- Review of client’s data warehouse background and status
- Development of governance environment – data warehouse strategy
- Presentation (optional) – if requested, the ISI consultant can work with the client to prepare (and participate in) an executive level presentation that summarizes the results of the assessment and highlights the governance structure developed during the engagement.
The engagement has two or three major deliverables:
- The first tangible deliverable is the data warehouse governance structure including mission, charter, guiding principles, and program management methodology.
- The second deliverable is intangible, and it is attained through the interaction of the ISI consultant and the company’s personnel. In addition to soliciting information, the consultant provides education and training in relevant concepts.
- A third deliverable (optional) is an executive level presentation of the results of the engagement.