Data warehouse development: Four strategic steps

Learn the basics of data warehouse development in four strategic steps, from expert William McKnight.

I have been assigned to develop a data warehouse. How do I get started with this?

The strategy for developing a data warehouse can be broken down into four steps:

1. Educate yourself. I recommend getting Business Intelligence Roadmap by Moss, Atre and Youdon, and reading it cover to cover before you start.

2. Determine business requirements. Not all data warehouses are the same. You need to understand why the requestor needs a data warehouse. What are they trying to accomplish – saving time in collecting data, higher quality of data, supporting certain applications, making data available and/or enabling new company functions? You'll need to tie those objectives to what data sources you'll be pulling data from, what subject areas, what business rules you'll follow and what users and/or applications you'll support.

3. Make a timeline. Break up those business objectives mentioned above into 3-month incremental deliverables.

4. Choose architecture, methodology, and technology and compile a staff (and/or consultancy). You'll need to meet you business objectives as well as build your structures scalable so that you can add-on easily to meet future requirements. This includes securing business involvement with governance and stewardship programs.

More information on data warehouse development

  • Learn why you should build a data warehouse
  • Listen to a data warehousing software update podcast, as Bill Inmon makes the case for DW 2.0
  • Learn how to demystify data warehouse appliances

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