Chapter 3. Understanding Where You Are and Finding Your Way

Most organizations already have some mechanism in place to meet their reporting needs. This mechanism may be a set of reports that run directly against the production application systems or reports generated from an existing data warehouse. Many organizations have multiple data warehouse attempts under their belt. Some data warehouses have been successful, while others have never delivered value. In many cases, reports and analysis are not supported in a formal system at all. Data is pulled from wherever it can be found, and manually merged into spreadsheets to create reports and presentations, and used for analysis.

Because you are not starting with a clean slate, it is important to get a realistic understanding of what reporting and/or data warehouse components and resources are available and to what extent they are being used.

Making an honest assessment of what has been accomplished to date is often one of the most difficult things to do. Several years of hard work may have been invested to build the system currently in place. It usually takes longer and costs more than what was originally planned, and the results may have fallen short of expectations. What should be done? Take a deep breath, step back, and take a little time for reflection. This chapter lays out the steps to help:

  • Understand the current business situation.

  • Identify how reporting is currently accomplished.

  • Assess the effectiveness of existing reporting mechanisms. ...

Get A Manager's Guide to Data Warehousing now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.