Portals eNewsletters Web Seminars dataWarehouse.com DM Review Magazine
DM Review | Covering Business Intelligence, Integration & Analytics
   Covering Business Intelligence, Integration & Analytics Advanced Search
advertisement

RESOURCE PORTALS
View all Portals

WEB SEMINARS
Scheduled Events

RESEARCH VAULT
White Paper Library
Research Papers

CAREERZONE
View Job Listings
Post a job

Advertisement

INFORMATION CENTER
DM Review Home
Newsletters
Current Magazine Issue
Magazine Archives
Online Columnists
Ask the Experts
Industry News
Search DM Review

GENERAL RESOURCES
Bookstore
Buyer's Guide
Glossary
Industry Events Calendar
Monthly Product Guides
Software Demo Lab
Vendor Listings

DM REVIEW
About Us
Press Releases
Awards
Advertising/Media Kit
Reprints
Magazine Subscriptions
Editorial Calendar
Contact Us
Customer Service

Meta Data and Data Administration:
Meta Data Repository Project Plan: The Construction Phase

  Column published in DM Review Magazine
May 2001 Issue
 
  By David Marco

This column is the fifth installment in a walk-through of the five fundamental phases of a project plan to build a meta data repository: orientation, feasibility, design, construction and rollout. The focus this month is the construction phase.

When the design phase is complete and the detailed design documents are approved and signed, it is time to begin constructing the back-end programs that will populate the meta data repository and the front-end programs that will present this information to the end users. The construction phase is a classic programming phase. During this phase, the project manager must ensure that the developers adhere to the repository implementation schedule. On the other hand, the repository architect will work with the developers to ensure all of the programs built are maintainable and run efficiently. Figure 1 summarizes the major endeavors in the construction phase.

User Acceptance Testing

The purpose of user acceptance testing is to gain end-user approval for the meta data repository. During this activity, it is important to conduct training for the end users immediately preceding user acceptance testing. The purpose of this training is to ensure that the end users understand the meta data repository and know how to use it. It is critical to not skip or gloss over this step. Always remember that the users make or break the project.

Task ID Task Name Duration Dependency
4 Construction Phase 77 days
4.1 Physically Implement Meta Model 10 days 3.3
4.2 Design Meta Data Security Process 6 days 3.3
4.3 Develop Meta Data Integration Processes 12 days 3, 3.4, 4.5.3
4.4 Develop Meta Data Reports/Access Method 10 days 3, 3.4, 4.5.3
4.5 Meta Data Infrastracture 9 days 4.1
4.6 User Acceptance Testing (UAT) 11 days 4.3, 4.4
4.6.1 Business User Training 6 days
4.6.2 Technical User Training 6 days
4.6.3 Conduct User Acceptance Testing 5 days 4.6.1, 4.6.2
Figure 1: Construction Phase Tasks

Management and User Support

At one time, I was part of a team hired to implement a new, enterprise-wide, order entry system for a large, global conglomerate with multiple, wholly owned subsidiaries throughout the United States. The implementation team spent two years building the system, which we planned to roll out initially to one of the conglomerate's smaller U.S. companies (we'll call it Subsidiary A). Subsidiary A was relatively large, with annual revenues of approximately $1 billion, but its management and end users were reluctant to institute any change and viewed the new system as a threat to their jobs. Management and users joined forces to oppose the implementation effort and eventually convinced the conglomerate not to implement the system. This decision was highly unfortunate because the system was designed to help Subsidiary A overcome one of its major problems - a lack of customer service. Features such as automated product pricing would have helped to compensate for this shortcoming and increased Subsidiary A's revenues.

The order entry system was designed to calculate price when the clerk keyed in the customer, product code and quantity. Although this sounds pretty basic, it was a significant improvement over the way Subsidiary A was providing price quotes to its customers and would have saved considerable time and effort on the part of the users as well as increased the reliability of the quotes.

Having failed in our implementation effort at Subsidiary A, the team moved on to Subsidiary B, the largest of the conglomerate's U.S. companies with annual revenues of approximately $7 billion. A month before we began rolling out the system at Subsidiary B, the conglomerate initiated a major reorganization of all its U.S. holdings.

Unfortunately, this had a large negative impact on our system and its internal hierarchies. We experienced a large number of problems during user acceptance testing. Fortunately for us, the end users at Subsidiary B were absolutely the best I have ever worked with. They spent little to no time looking to assign blame. Instead, they stayed focused on the problem and worked as a true partner. The result was a highly successful systems implementation for Subsidiary B. Sadly, Subsidiary A never implemented the new system and because they were experiencing poor financial performance they had to undergo major employee layoffs. I firmly believe that if they would have been more amenable to change those layoffs may have been avoidable.

Remember, the success of the repository implementation project depends as heavily on user support as it does on the technical design and construction of the system. In all cases, the repository project manager needs to work closely with the business users before and during acceptance testing. Implementation team members need to keep their fingers on the pulse of the users and their ears to the ground to understand how well the repository is satisfying the users' needs and how the users are perceiving the system's success.

Next month, I will conclude this project planning series with a walk-through of the rollout phase.

Note: This column is adapted from my book "Building and Managing the Meta Data Repository." The complete project plan is available on the accompanying CD-ROM.

...............................................................................

For more information on related topics visit the following related portals...
DW Design, Methodology.

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.

Solutions Marketplace
Provided by IndustryBrains

Data Validation Tools: FREE Trial
Protect against fraud, waste and excess marketing costs by cleaning your customer database of inaccurate, incomplete or undeliverable addresses. Add on phone check, name parsing and geo-coding as needed. FREE trial of Data Quality dev tools here.

Backup SQL Server or Exchange Continuously
FREE WHITE PAPER. Recover SQL Server, Exchange or NTFS data within minutes with TimeSpring?s continuous data protection (CDP) software. No protection gaps, no scheduling requirements, no backup related slowdowns and no backup windows to manage.

Manage Data Center from Virtually Anywhere!
Learn how SecureLinx remote IT management products can quickly and easily give you the ability to securely manage data center equipment (servers, switches, routers, telecom equipment) from anywhere, at any time... even if the network is down.

Design Databases with ER/Studio: Free Trial
ER/Studio delivers next-generation data modeling. Multiple, distinct physical models based on a single logical model give you the tools you need to manage complex database environments and critical metadata in an intuitive user interface.

Free EII Buyer's Guide
Understand EII - Trends. Tech. Apps. Calculate ROI. Download Now.

Click here to advertise in this space


View Full Issue View Full Magazine Issue
E-mail This Column E-Mail This Column
Printer Friendly Version Printer-Friendly Version
Related Content Related Content
Request Reprints Request Reprints
Advertisement
advertisement
Site Map Terms of Use Privacy Policy
SourceMedia (c) 2006 DM Review and SourceMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
SourceMedia is an Investcorp company.
Use, duplication, or sale of this service, or data contained herein, is strictly prohibited.