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Where do successful organizations place data warehousing and decision support systems within the internal IT organization.

    Ask The Experts published in DMReview.com
March 1, 2000
  By David Marco and Ross Armstrong and Sid Adelman


Where do successful organizations place data warehousing and decision support systems within the internal IT organization? I am fighting to keep the function as a separate entity reporting to the CIO. Application development (transactional-based folks) feel all "development" should be in one area. Any help/references?


David Marco's Answer: Off hand I don't know of any books or articles that state where the DSS team should be located, however I strongly feel that they should report directly to the CIO. I believe that this is critical as the DSS team will be interfacing with most, if not all, of the key systems within the company and may need executive support to break down some of those "ivory towers" in all of our companies. Keep up the fight!

Ross Armstrong's Answer: Don't give up. You'll be rewarded handsomely. I've worked on many data warehousing projects in many corporations, and the most successful and least stressful projects are when the project is not managed by application development. Characteristics such as not being able to resolve all data quality and reconciliation issues before initial load (diminishing returns) or not being able to spec out a repeatable workload or following an iterative or RAD methodology instead of the waterfalls methodology are quite unnerving to traditional application development management. Being able to develop a smaller warehouse to support a subset of the total business user base then adding more data and analytical function in successive iterations is the desired strategy. Delivering part of the warehouse in four to six months is far more valuable to the business than waiting until the total warehouse is developed in 12 to 18 months, as it would be in a traditional application development environment. Keep the project separate and ask your management to read some of the great books on warehouse implementation methodologies.

Sid Adelman's Answer: The decision has probably more to do with power and empire than anything else does. If the group no longer reports to the CIO, you've lost power and the data warehouse has more chance of being bastardized, abused and used for the wrong purposes.


For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
Business Intelligence (BI).

David Marco is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of enterprise architecture, data warehousing and business intelligence and is the world's foremost authority on meta data. He is the author of Universal Meta Data Models (Wiley, 2004) and Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository: A Full Life-Cycle Guide (Wiley, 2000). Marco has taught at the University of Chicago and DePaul University, and in 2004 he was selected to the prestigious Crain's Chicago Business "Top 40 Under 40."  He is the founder and president of Enterprise Warehousing Solutions, Inc., a GSA schedule and Chicago-headquartered strategic partner and systems integrator dedicated to providing companies and large government agencies with best-in-class business intelligence solutions using data warehousing and meta data repository technologies. He may be reached at (866) EWS-1100 or via e-mail at DMarco@EWSolutions.com.

Ross Armstrong is a consultant and president of R & L Armstrong & Associates specializing in assisting clients in identifying information analysis strategies exploiting data warehousing concepts and technology. He provides hands-on consulting on data integration strategies, project management, data warehouse architecture and implementation of single data marts or multi- terabyte enterprise data warehouses. He can be contacted via e-mail at rossarm@attglobal.net.

Sid Adelman is a principal in Sid Adelman & Associates, an organization specializing in planning and implementing data warehouses, in data warehouse and BI assessments, and in establishing effective data architectures and strategies. He is a regular speaker at DW conferences. Adelman chairs the "Ask the Experts" column on www.dmreview.com. He is a frequent contributor to journals that focus on data warehousing. He co-authored Data Warehouse Project Management and is the principal author on Impossible Data Warehouse Situations with Solutions from the Experts. His new book, Data Strategy, is scheduled for publication this year. He can be reached at 818-783-9634 or sidadelman@aol.com.  Visit his Web site at www.sidadelman.com.

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