Cost Savings are the New Black for Data Warehousing
By Dain C. Hansen on Mar 19, 2009
According to Margy Ross - from the Kimball Group - the biggest obstacle today in implementing data warehouses is improper IT and business alignment. The following except is from an interview by Mark Rittman:
[Margy Ross] : “The biggest challenge is effectively partnering with the business organizations to deliver a DW/BI solution that the business will embrace to support their decision making. Often what undermines the partnership is the IT manager’s lack of understanding of how the business works and the major opportunities for leveraging business intelligence to add value. In terms of advice for making a case for data warehousing, it’s critical that the DW manager walks in with their business counterparts to collectively establish the business case.”
I believe this "business case" is essential for data warehousing, and although Margy doesn't expand on it in this particular interview - I would like to.
The business case for Data Warehousing is not - as much as you would like it to be - making your BI applications work...or another popular case for Data Warehousing is "because we need it to integrate and consolidate data and applications in real-time". That's a feature, not a business case. That's part of why there is this lack of alignment. We often forget that our business management thinks differently than we do as IT managers, or as Margy puts it there is a "lack of understanding of how the business works" and what opportunities in Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing can lead to improved value.
So here are three ideas for you that you can start to think about for your Data Warehousing business cases.
#1 - Cost Savings
Cost savings are the new black - that's right. Reduce Dev costs. Reduce IT costs. Reduce costs from risk. Data Warehouses provide ways to consolidate and to eliminate unnecessary SQL or custom code; they provide a way to consolidate and modernize infrastructure and rationalize redudancies in data-marts, data-silos, and multiple data-centric applications. They provide an easy way to reduce risk of bad quality data.
#2 - Efficiencies
If cost savings are the new black, then efficiencies are well the new black too. These two are inseparable. Cost savings are great, but you want to do more with your less. In Data Warehousing this translates to performance improvements, real-time data, better and faster ways to implement and build out solutions
#3 - Business Insight
Why is it that we're stuck talking about our Data Warehouse in a 'static' feature/functional way? Your business wants data for a purpose. It needs information that is clean, realiable, consistent. So that it can do what with it? Make better informed business decisions and act on such a way that improves the bottom line of the business. Hey we're back full circle again to #1. It's the cost thing.
Economy issues or not. #1 business case for your Data Warehouse should be saving your company money. Even in an up-economy we should be doing that. That is where Business and IT need to 'align' to determine how to cut costs and improve efficiencies for their business.
You can read more about how to establish a better case for your Data Warehouse, BI, or Information Management initiative here.
Or send us your ideas on how we can better solve the alignment challenge.