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The foundation of a successful data warehouse is a working prototype - we can build one for your organization in just 8 weeks.

 
 

Developing a Rapid, Tangible Data Warehouse Pilot Using Your Data

Building a successful data warehouse requires the commitment of significant time and financial resources. To ensure that this commitment is justified, Advanced DataTools has developed a unique approach to building FAST IBM Informix Data Warehouses based on years of designing and implementing successful programs and applications.

What is a Data Warehouse?

A data warehouse is specifically designed for reporting and analysis. It is designed to track program and financial information, and to provide ad hoc query and reporting capabilities. A data warehouse becomes more valuable over time as the information stored in the warehouse reflects the business process over a number of years.

Data in a data warehouse is structured to permit static reporting, ad hoc reporting, or data analysis, and is accessible by anyone with authorization.

Data warehouses:

  • Provide the information managers need to make better business decisions,
  • Increase the ease, frequency, and accuracy of reporting,
  • Increase the ease, speed, and accuracy of analysis, and
  • Replace existing hard copy reports with on-line, web-based reporting tools which reduce the need for paper reporting.

Our Proven Approach

Advanced DataTools’ approach enables our customers to verify early and often in a project that the effort is on track and that the end result will meet the stated objectives.

This proven approach is based on two key factors:

  • Results are quickly demonstrated in Step 1 to facilitate refinement of the project plan and keep motivation high throughout the project.
  • All perspectives on the project are explicitly included, from executives' requirements, to the end-users' needs and computing environment, as well as the data processing staff's knowledge of the systems environment and maintenance challenges.

The pivotal first step is designed so that within two months of the start of the project a prototype is developed that our customer can effectively evaluate and use to make an informed decision on how to proceed. The significant benefit of this approach is that within eight weeks you will have a team of staff (including end users who will serve as ambassadors) who have verified that the proposed data warehouse will meet the business requirements, have been involved in its design, and are excited and committed to its success.

Advanced DataTools’ approach to data warehouse development provides the customer with three advantages:

  • Rapidly identifies the most comprehensive requirements and data sources using workshops involving all users, developers, and managers
  • Maximizes ownership and buy-in at all levels of the organization
  • Provides opportunity for design corrections very early in the development cycle to ensure the final product will meet the customer’s business needs

Advanced DataTools’ Six-Step Data Warehouse Development Process

Phase
Tasks
Results
Time
1
Workshops and Develop Prototype Data Warehouse
Data Warehouse Prototype
8 Weeks
2
Procure the Data Warehouse Equipment and Consulting Services
Hardware, Software, and Implementation Plan
1 Month
3
Develop the Data Warehouse Software and Convert the Initial Data
Operational Software, Initial Queries, Reports, and Data
4 Months
4
Install the Data Warehouse Hardware, Software, and Converted Data
Data Warehouse Goes Live
1 Month
5
Train the Data Warehouse Users and Operational Staff
Software Docs and User Manuals
1 Month
6
Refine the Data Warehouse Data, Queries, and Reports
Revised Queries, Reports, and Dashboards
3 Months


Step 1 – Requirements Gathering and Building a prototype Data Warehouse

The most important part of the design process is implementing Step 1 – rapidly collecting requirements and delivering a prototype.

The prototype contains a limited amount of data (typically one year) structured in the proposed data warehouse dimensional model. The prototype provides management and users with an early preview of the data warehouse, and serves as a foundation upon which to build the full production data warehouse.

This process begins with a one-week design workshop that includes management, end users, and technical staff. At the end of the process, this team is invited back to validate the data warehouse design, to develop several key reports against the data warehouse, and to make recommendations regarding the development of a fully deployed data warehouse.

Week
Task
Objective
1

Vision Workshop
Data Warehouse Analysis

Review data warehouse objectives, define vision and goals, outline scope, identify facilitators and barriers
to success.
2
Design Workshop
Data Warehouse Design
Design logical dimensional data model, identify data sources, develop initial data extraction procedures.
3-4
Data Extraction
Collect, extract, and review data; convert all data to ASCII format, create database and tables.
5-6
Data Loading and Configuration
Load data, cleanse and verify; configure Brio repository.
7
Brio Training Workshop
Develop sample queries; train prototype users.
8
Executive Presentation and Full Data Warehouse Planning
Prepare and conduct presentation to Executive Team. Summarize the Launch; document recommendations and next steps.


Benefits

There are significant key benefits to this step of our approach:

  • Delivers initial results to users quickly and builds anticipation for the final product,
  • Demonstrates the potential advantages of the data warehouse to key management and end users,
  • Provides the project with the visibility needed to gain the support and commitment required to be successful, and
  • Ensures that within two months, the Core User Team has a hands-on, limited version of the data warehouse to evaluate – including an opportunity to query, manipulate, and present the data.

Vision and Design Workshops

Advanced DataTools begins Step 1 and the design of the data warehouse with a Vision & Requirements Workshop, which is critical to the success of the project.

Instead of plodding through months of user interviews to gather project requirements, we bring all of the key data warehouse users and technical staff into the same room for a highly productive workshop led by a skilled facilitator focused on the objectives, data sources, and required outputs. The interaction between prospective users from all levels of the organization, your technical staff, and our team of developers ensures the best possible design for the data warehouse and builds a team committed to the success of the project.

Following the Vision & Requirements Workshop, the technical staff and key members of the Project Team tackle the technical aspects of the project with a Design Workshop. This includes finalizing the model or design of the database, preparing for the transfer of the data, laying the groundwork for software and hardware requirements, and solving the inevitable difficulties of implementing a data warehouse.

Project Team

Advanced DataTools believes that the most successful projects are completed with the full and interactive involvement of our customers. To that end, we have designed three Project Teams that include both Advanced DataTools staff and members from all levels of your organization.

  • The Executive Team
  • The Core Technical Team
  • The Core User Team

The composition of these three teams ensures that all perspectives and needs are kept in focus throughout the development process, and that the final data warehouse will meet and exceed the needs of your organization. The committed participation of these team members is key to the successful implementation of your data warehouse.

The Executive Team typically consists of the executive sponsorship having the most business interest in the data warehouse project. This team should include managers that will be able to resolve any conceptual or implementation issues from a business standpoint.

Although there will be many stakeholders, the Executive Team will be the decision makers for the project policies. The team members must also have the position and authority to guarantee that the project has access to the necessary human and computing resources to be successful.

The Core Technical Team consists of two groups - the system development team…

  • System Architect
  • Project Leader
  • Senior Database and Brio Consultants
  • Senior Systems Analysts and Workshop Facilitator

and the organization’s personnel responsible for the success of the project…

  • Project Sponsor
  • Project Manager and Project Technical Lead
  • Database Administrators
  • Systems Staff and Programmers
  • Project Acceptance Test Team

This team also includes one or two representatives from the organization’s technical staff responsible for the implementation of the project. The role of this team is to bring the technical expertise to the project to ensure a successful outcome.

The Core User Team consists of two or more users from each prospective data warehouse user division of the organization. These users will represent the broad variety of staff from the divisions that will utilize the completed system. This team will include field managers, program specialists, system accountants, and others who stand to benefit the most from the implementation of the system.

See Successes for more information on our data warehouse projects in action.

   
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