Conducting Data Warehouse Assessments

Joyce Bischoff
Bischoff Consulting, Inc. Hockessin, Delaware 302-239-7202
©1999, 2002, Joyce Bischoff, All rights reserved.

• Definition • Reasons for assessments • Assessment Approach
– – – – Building the Team Assembling Information Using Leading Questions Interviewing managers, users, user support, technical staff

• Reporting the findings
– Assessment Topics

• Summary
©1999, 2002, Joyce Bischoff, All rights reserved.

What is it?

©1999, 2002, Joyce Bischoff, All rights reserved.

2002.Why? To ensure: • Business objectives are met • Users are satisfied • Technical staff is working effectively • Corporate infrastructure is in place • DW / DM processes are working effectively • To ensure that tradeoffs are understood – Data currency & integrity – Data availability – User satisfaction – Performance – Flexibility ©1999. . Joyce Bischoff.Data Warehouse Assessments. All rights reserved.

Scheduling Assessments and Reviews ASSESSMENTS • Readiness Assessment • In-Development Assessments DESIGN REVIEWS • Architectural Review • Data Warehouse Data Model Review • Data Transformation & Cleansing Review • Programming Review • Code/Utility Review • Performance Review • Includes all of the above • Post-implementation Assessment ©1999. All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff. 2002. .

The Approach Assess the current situation Gather information & Identify problems Investigate » JAD sessions » Interviews » Questionnaires » Documentation ©1999. 2002. All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff. Recommendations to correct problems .

Joyce Bischoff. .The Approach Executives & Managers Is the data warehouse a success? Users Technical Staff ©1999. All rights reserved. 2002.

Building the Team • Team members – – – – – Need mix of skills to examine Assessment Topics Must provide objective evaluation Need interviewing skills and technical skills Should understand best practices in the industry Makes recommendations based on best practices • Each topic needs an assigned leader • Team may include 2-6 people (average) What about politics?? ©1999. . Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved. 2002.

2002. DW. Joyce Bischoff. ODS. . All rights reserved. guidelines. key managers. including list of data warehouse staff. including data marts.Assembling Information • Project scope & documented requirements • Business objectives of DW • Organization chart. & procedures ©1999. and users • Roles & responsibilities and how assigned • Training programs for users and DW team • DW architecture description. and relationships • Standards.

but a checklist helps! ©1999. . . . Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved. 2002.Using Leading Questions • Asking the right questions at the right time is the basis for successful assessments • Leading questions provide a basic check list and should be prepared in advance • Drill down as far as necessary to obtain needed information • DW assessments require more than a checklist. .

2002. may be anonymous JAD sessions One-on-one interviews Always ask for additional comments • Leading questions are only a starting point • Answers point the way to identifying weaknesses and proposing improvements ©1999. Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved.Using Leading Questions • Questions: – – – – – Must be tailored for your situation Printed questionnaires. ? .

Assessment Topics Business Development Requirements Methodology User Satisfaction Business Value DW Strategy ©1999. 2002. All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff. DW Architecture Organizational Issues Standards & Guidelines Vendor Relationships .

All rights reserved. 2002.Assessment Topics Future Planning Performance & Capacity Data Management Data Access & Delivery ©1999. Joyce Bischoff. Metadata Strategy DW Administration Data Modeling Database Design .

Sample Questions for Executives & Managers • Is the data warehouse a success? – Business value – Return on investment – Organizational issues • From your perspective. . 2002. Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved. what are its strong and weak points? • Did it meet strategic objectives? Which ones? • Future plans for the DW or DM • Are there particular persons that we should be sure to talk with (in addition to our present list)? ©1999.

All rights reserved. . Joyce Bischoff. 2002.Sample Questions for Technical Staff • Why was the DW / DM built? • Discuss the following areas with appropriate members of the technical staff: Discuss the process & – User satisfaction results of the processes – Standards & Guidelines for each technical area – Metadata strategy – – – – – Data management processes Performance and capacity planning Data access and delivery issues Data modeling & database design Future planning ©1999.

end-user tools. etc. All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff. . 2002. ease of use.Sample Questions for Users • Project starts with user requirements and will be judged against them • Why was the data warehouse built? • Were your special requirements considered? • Business value realized? Money saved? Improved efficiency? Most important benefit realized? • What is the most important question that you cannot ask? • Technical staff responsive to new requirements? • Level of satisfaction with DW/DM.? • Is data easy to use? ©1999. availability.

All rights reserved.End User Support Help Desk • • • • • • • Adequately staffed? Types of problems encountered? Do you have problems addressing problems? Adequate support from the technical staff? Users adequately trained in data and tools? User expectations well managed? How could it be improved? ©1999. Joyce Bischoff. . 2002.

. questionnaires. JAD sessions. and analysis of documentation • Cover each assessment topic that was addressed during the review • Following pages summarize sample issues in each subject area ©1999. 2002. All rights reserved.Building the Report • Summarize findings of interviews. Joyce Bischoff.

Joyce Bischoff. . 2002.DW Strategy What is the data warehouse strategy? Is it designed to fundamentally change the way business decisions are made? Does the strategy allow for iterative development with increasing benefits after each cycle? ©1999. All rights reserved.

DM. All rights reserved.Business Value How / who sets priorities for DW development? Review procedures for evaluating ROI Business benefits from using DW. Joyce Bischoff. or ODS? ©1999. . 2002.

All rights reserved. 2002. Joyce Bischoff. .Business Requirements • Review processes for: – Gathering requirements – Determining new requirements – Keeping requirements current – Identifying gaps between stated requirements and actual capabilities • How well are current requirements met? • Suggest ideas for encouraging creative use of existing data ©1999.

2002. Joyce Bischoff.Organizational Issues: Leading Questions • Has an “official” strategic alliance been created between the users and IT staff? • Is there a high level user sponsor? • Mission and objectives in line with corporate business objectives? • Sufficient budget allocated? • Organizational roadblocks? • Who are the users? How will they be involved? • How will the users be trained and supported? • What are the users’ expectations? ©1999. All rights reserved. .

Organizational Issues: Leading Questions • Process in place for responding to user complaints about performance. data integrity. . data quality. Joyce Bischoff. data availability. All rights reserved. and consistency? • Does the technical staff have the skills needed to support the DW? • Roles and responsibilities defined and assigned? • Source data documented? • What is the quality of the source data? • How will technical personnel track data usage and changing user requirements? • End-user tools and development tools selected? ©1999. 2002.

All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff. 2002. DW? ©1999. ODS.DW Methodology • How are data warehouse projects planned? • Does everyone understand definitions of DW and data warehouse technology? • Effective methodology in place? – Are RAD techniques used? – All phases and activities time-boxed? – Methodology flexible enough to accommodate projects of varying sizes. . DM.

DM. Joyce Bischoff. 2002. All rights reserved.DW Architecture • Review use of DW. ODS and their relationships • Review effectiveness of current hardware / software / DW tools • Scalability? • How does the data flow? ©1999. .

Joyce Bischoff.Data Management • Do you track data usage? Table level? Column level? Row level? • Do you track trends in growth of specific tables? • How do you allocate space? • How do you determine what data needs to be audited? • Do you know which users use which data? • Do you know which access paths are needed by various users? How do you determine this? • What is your process for implementing new access paths? ©1999. 2002. All rights reserved. .

recovery. 2002. . reorganization. Joyce Bischoff.? ©1999.Data Management • Review process of selecting source data. and transformation • Review processes for maintaining data quality • Are there problems with data consistency? • Identify opportunities for data integration • How do you handle requests for additional data? • How do you handle backup. extraction. etc. All rights reserved. cleansing.

Performance & Capacity Planning • How do you measure performance in the DW? • Do you have service level agreements? – On what are they based? • How do you measure user satisfaction with performance? • How do you measure trends in performance? • Comparisons of today vs. another day? This week vs. All rights reserved. 2002. Joyce Bischoff. . last week? • How do you identify hot spots in databases? • How do you identify candidates for re-partitioning? • Do you have a scalable environment in terms of hardware and software? ©1999.

All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff.Metadata Strategy • Review existing metadata strategy – Locations and consistency between locations – Processes for keeping it current – Accessibility to users and technical personnel ©1999. . 2002.

transformation etc. Guidelines.DW Standards. 2002. Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved. . • Assess effectiveness ©1999. development. and procedures. if available – – – – – – – Requirements gathering and documentation Architecture guidelines Data and metadata Database design. administration Development Data quality. cleansing. guidelines. and Procedures • Review standards.

All rights reserved. Joyce Bischoff.Data Access & Delivery DSS EIS Data Warehouse Data Mart Data Mart Data Mart Ad Hoc Traditional Data Mining ©1999. 2002. .

Data Modeling • • • • • • What types of data modeling are used? Are they effective? Compare with best practices Where are models stored? Are they integrated and reusable? Do users have access to data models? – Which ones? – How do they use them? ©1999. . Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved. 2002.

Database Design • Review processes used to design databases – – – – Usage of data models Selection of DBMS Design review processes (if applicable) Design guidelines for specific DBMSs • Review database designs for selected subject areas – Multi-level data architecture? – Managed data redundancy? • Compare with best practices ©1999. All rights reserved. 2002. . Joyce Bischoff.

DW Assessment Report • Compile the results of all interviews. Joyce Bischoff. and analysis of documentation • Include the topic. and recommendations for each area analyzed • Level of detail will depend upon concerns raised by interviewees – Concerns will require deeper analysis in selected areas – Findings will depend upon the persons interviewed! ©1999. . findings. 2002. questionnaires. All rights reserved. JAD sessions. reviews.

2002. Users Technical Staff .Summary of the Process • Business Value • ROI • Design • Development • Administration • Organization • Management processes • Strategy Executives & Managers ©1999. Joyce Bischoff. All rights reserved.

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