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Data warehouse in Burundi

Jean Bertrand Bazubwabo

Fontys University of Applied Sciences Faculty of Information Technology

Nowadays, corporate decision-makers require access to the organizations data wherever its located. To provide comprehensive analysis of the organization, its business, its requirements, and any trends, requires access to not only current values in the database but also to historical data. To facilitate this type of analysis, the data warehouse has been introduced for to hold data drawn from several data sources and maintained by different operating units. Mainly, the goal of a data warehouse is to integrate enterprise wide corporate data into a single repository where users would be able to find all the strategic information they would need in the right format. Its therefore important that a data warehouse contains the right elements of information in the most optimal formats. In this document, I outline what a data warehouse is and the potential benefits of implementing it. Finally, I describe the needs of a data warehouse in Burundi. Keywords: Data warehouse, database



This document is a small article of trends and hypes module, which yields essentially informations of a topic picked up for an interested new technology related to IT field. For that, the topic was chosen, based on the techniques used to develop a data warehouse. How this document is structured? This document contains mainly two parts. The first part covers everything about the data warehouse, the benefits of implementing it within a corporation. The second part gives a thorough analyse of the needs of a data warehouse in Burundi and an example of a successful implementation of data warehouse in Africa.


Whats a data warehouse?

A data warehouse is a collection of electronic data within an organization, designed to support manager decision-makers. The implementation of a data warehouse includes the development of a system which extracts, analyzes and transforms data from different operating systems. Therefore, a good installation of a warehouse database system provides managers and decision-makers flexible access to the data.

J. Bertrand Bazubwabo

Data warehouse in Burundi

The father of data warehousing, Bill Inmon, who earned the title because of his active promotion, defines a data warehousing as a subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant, and non-volatile collection of data in support of managements decision making process. Subject-oriented : Information is presented according to specific subjects or areas of interest, not simply as computer files. Data is manipulated to provide information about a particular subject. Integrated :because of the coming together of source data from different enterprise-wide applications systems. The source data is often inconsistent using, for instance, different formats. The integrated data source must be made consistent to present a unified view of the data to the users. Time-variant: because data in the data warehouse is only accurate and valid at some point in time or over some time interval. Non-volatile as the data is not updated in real time but is refreshed from operational systems on a regular basis. New data is always added as a supplement to the database, rather than a replacement.

2.1. Benefits of a data warehouse The major benefits of a successful implementation of a data warehouse to an organization are a high potential returns on investment, a competitive advantage, and an increased productivity of corporate decision-makers. High returns on investment: A corporation must commit a huge amount of resources to ensure the successful implementation of a data warehouse and the cost can vary from $50,000 to over $10 million[2] due the variety of technical solutions available. However, many studies have shown and reported that average three year returns on investment (ROI) in data warehousing are reached. Competitive advantage: By implementing a data warehouse, decision-makers can access easily current and historical informations of a corporation which was previously unavailable or unknown, for instance customers, trends, and demands. With this technology, corporations can be more competitive. Increased productivity of corporate: With a data warehouse, data are integrated from multiple incompatible systems into a form which provides one consistent view of an organization or a corporation. By transforming data into meaningful information, a data warehouse allows decision-makers to perform an accurate and consistent analysis. Beside those major benefits, with a data warehouse , data are displayed in several types of visual forms such as text, numerical arrays, spreadsheets, charts, graphs, etc...

2.2. Implementation of a data warehouse Developing a data warehouse is an enormous project which requires a lot of money, time and of course many experts essentially IT professionals. Moreover, by implementing a data warehouse many key issues have to be considered like setting proper expectations, assessing risks, deciding between top-down or bottom-up approaches, choosing from vendor solutions. Implementing a data warehouse might be done either in house or outsourced, but in fact its recommended not to outsource all activities of developing a data warehouse .


Trends and Hypes, No.1, (2009) In order to successful implement a data warehouse, several requirements have to be taken in consideration such as: state clearly the problem which has to be solved, indentify all data sources and formats, indentify the users of the whole system, ask identified users to specify what the system has to do, define a specific budget of money, time and personnel, group requirements from senior executives, departmental managers, business analysts, and database administrators (DBA), make a prioritized requirements table, and , produce a detailed development schedule

2.3. Skills and experience levels of data warehouse project team According to Paularj Ponnial[1], the author of many textbooks of data warehousing, the development of a data warehouse project requires different activities and as well many peoples with diverse ski lls and experience. Here, I further described some of them: Executive sponsor: Senior level executive, in depth knowledge of business, enthusiasm and ability to moderate and arbitrate. Project manager: People skills, project management experience, business and user oriented, ability to be practical and effective. User liaison manager: People skills, respected in user community, organization skills, team player, knowledge of systems Lead architect: Analytical skills, ability to see the big picture, expertise in interfaces, knowledge of data warehouse concepts. Infrastructure specialist: Specialist in hardware, operating systems, computing platforms. Business analyst: Analytical skills, ability to interact with users, sufficient industry experience as analyst Data modeller: Expertise in relational and dimensional modelling with case tools, experience as data analyst Data warehouse administrator: Expert in physical database design and implementation, experience as relational DBA, MDDBMS Data transformation specialist: Knowledge of data structures, in depth knowledge of source systems, experience as analyst Quality assurance analyst: Knowledge of data quality techniques, knowledge of source systems data, experience as analyst Testing coordinator: Familiarity with testing methods and standards, use of testing tools, knowledge of some data warehouse information delivery tools, experience as programmer End-user applications specialist: In depth knowledge of source applications Development Programmer: Programming and analysis skills, experience as programmer in selected language and DBMS. Lead trainer: Training skills, experience in IT/User training, coordination and organization skills -3-

J. Bertrand Bazubwabo

Data warehouse in Burundi


Needs of a data warehouse in Burundi

3.1. Geographical situation Burundi is the smallest country in Africa, situated in East Africa and wedged between Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The population of Burundi is now around seven million. The official languages spoken are Kirundi and French.

Figure 1: Burundi in Africa Weather conditions and temperature vary widely based on differences in altitude. Generally, the upper elevations in the mountains and in the central plateau are cooler than the lowlands in the Lake Tanganyika area. Overall, the average annual temperature is near 25 C.

3.2. Technical situation Burundi is among developing countries where technology is still at a low level, all activities are not yet digitalised. By implementing for a instance a data warehouse for some corporations( banks, production manufactures, government, hospitals, insurances...) decision-makers could quickly get information that is needed to run smoothly and efficiently companies, to respond to the emergencies and opportunities, to get the ability to make quick decisions and interact with customers. Therefore, Burundi companies can be more competitive with other countries in the neighbourhood and even with the whole world because information is the real main tool for the development. 3.3. Obstacles for developing a data warehouse in Burundi To implement a data warehouse in Burundi still has many obstacles, I will mention some of them below: Low level of technology Lack of IT professionals, because the development of a data warehouse requires many experimented IT professionals. Economic problems because developing a data warehouse requires a good IT infrastructure and a high investments.


Trends and Hypes, No.1, (2009) Communication problems Unstable political situation However, the development of a data warehouse in Burundi should not start from scratch because there are already some legacy systems like oracle database, ERP systems, etc... 3.4. Suggestions for to overcome these obstacles In order to overcome these obstacles, many efforts as well as individual and governmental have to be taken, but the large part is for the government . In my opinion, the government has: To invest in the education of their people by sending some students to study in some countries where technology is on the higher level or by looking abroad of excellent teachers who can come in Burundi to give some classes. To invest in development and deployment of IT infrastructures across the country To search for investments in communication infrastructures. To start with an implementation of a basic data warehouse. This is for the reason that a fully implemented data warehouse could be too expensive and difficult. 3.5. Architecture of a basic data warehouse for Burundi This section describes an architecture of a suitable basic data warehouse which should be developed for developing countries such as Burundi. After a consultation with a specialist of data warehousing (Rien Hamers), who advised me that a basic data warehouse should for the most part contain 3 parts: One tool of data source in order to reduce various diverse formats of data to one format. And as result, it might directly connected to the data warehouse. One data warehouse that might be used as a relational database designed for query and analysis rather than transaction processing. The data warehouse should be for example a simple Database Management System(DBMS) such as an Oracle or a Microsoft system. One tool for the end user for loading data from the warehouse. The tool may only be used for queries and reports. More important, a successful implementation of a data warehouse will require a very strong general manager who would force that the agreements are strictly followed. But obviously with time being, this basic data warehouse should be improved by adding for instance a staging area between the data source and the warehouse. The staging area will be used to clean and process the operational data before putting them in the warehouse.


J. Bertrand Bazubwabo

Data warehouse in Burundi

Fig2: Architecture of a basic data warehouse 3.6. Example of a successful implementation of data warehouse in Africa In 2000, the South Africa office of the National Treasury[3] embarked on a data warehousing project to consolidate the various data sources and meet the government's reporting needs both for Vulindlela( A programme which ensures that South Africas ethnic mix, people with disabilities and women are well represented in public bodies) and for GFS[3]( Government Financial Statistics). Given the size and scope of the South African government, the project involved a massive data reengineering, application and database-mapping project. There were many instances where the same code had more than one meaning. For example, the code 001 referred to the Department of Agriculture, Correctional Services, Education and Tertiary Education. In other instances, a single entity had a variety of codes: for example the Department of Agriculture had four. Also, departments had different data hierarchies, placing the same data elements at different levels of the structure. Although it is early in the project, the National Treasury of the South African Government is already seeing significant benefits. For example, on the financial side individual departments at national and provincial levels are able to track their cash flows and manage budgets more effectively than in the past an important objective, bearing in mind the government's desire to reduce its debt burden. On the personnel side, managers can pick up all the data they need for tracking gender and racial splits by department and by province, enabling them to find out very quickly what progress is being made toward their Vulindlela targets. They can also generate reports for example, on staff turnover, salary bands or age profiles to send to the country's labour agencies with simple mouse clicks. Major causes of failure in the implementation of a data warehouse for developing countries: Often, many developing countries focus only on the technology, and fail to realize that organizational factors and the process followed in the actual implementation of technology are related in a direct way, to successful outcomes.



Although developing a data warehouse requires many efforts, money and several activities; this document has clearly defined a data warehousing as a corner stone of the decision support systems and


Trends and Hypes, No.1, (2009) the benefits of implementing a data warehouse in Burundi but also for other developing countries in turn to be more competitive with the rest of the world. Furthermore, this document has clearly described even though a data warehouse is needed in Burundi; a full implementation of data warehouse actually may be difficult even impossible for many different reasons.

[1] Ponniah, Paulraj. Data warehousing fundamentals, New Jersey,2001. [2] Thomas M. Connolly, Carolyn E. Begg. Database systems, a practical approach to design, implementation, and management. University of Paisley, 2005. [3]


J. Bertrand Bazubwabo

Data warehouse in Burundi