Monday, August 2, 2010

Bridging the business/IT gap

Posted by Mark Brousseau

Business and IT collaboration is critical to the success of a data warehousing project, Alison Torres, director, Teradata Warehouse Consulting told attendees during a presentation at the FTA Technology Conference and Exposition at the Grand Hyatt Buckhead in Atlanta. “The most successful data warehouses have a team of IT and business representatives with an executive sponsor,” Torres said.

A data warehouse is a place that brings together data from disparate systems, which enables timely, accurate decision-making in support of strategic and tactical business initiatives, Torres explained.

“The only relevant measures of data warehousing success are business impact and value,” she added.

Torres said the keys to business and IT working together on a data warehousing project are:

… Building/evolving the vision together
… Appreciating IT’s challenges
… Building the business/data model together
… Championing the data warehouse together
… Creating overlapping organizations
… Establishing meaningful accountabilities and service level agreements

So how do you get started? Torres offered several suggestions:

… Assemble a cross-functional team with representation across all business units, corporate departments and IT services
… Hold weekly business data modeling sessions
… Develop consistent business definitions across all levels of the business
… Map data requirements generated from business modeling sessions
… Store the data model in a tool
… Produce detailed documentation

Additionally, IT must understand the business impact of data problems, Torres said.

“When data is unavailable, business opportunities are lost, perhaps forever,” Torres explained. “Late information is, in most cases, as good as no information. It is imperative that IT understands this.”

It’s through this type of collaboration that organizations can increase the odds of success of their data warehouse project.

What do you think?

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