Do you think we can really create an environment where data is at your fingertips? Can you imagine no IT interaction – just analyze the data! Sounds like nirvana for the business user, but for all of us “data people,” it sounds very difficult to do. Not impossible, but an ongoing endeavor. Here are the steps I would start with:
- You must concentrate on a small and specific area of the business. For example, utility usage (if you are a utility company) or product production costs (for those companies that make things). Small amounts of dimensional data and facts about that data. Of course, time is part of the equation.
- The quality of the data must be addressed up front and set to meet the business users’ expectations. So be prepared to clean some data.
- Decide on the technology. I, myself, like cubes. Cubes built from a star schema work great for this type of implementation.
- Turn the implementation over to a small group of users and let them have at it. Watch for enhancements, changes and chances to merge this data with purchased data or third-party data.
- Enhance the implementation and put it in production.
- Then go for the second set of data that we can put at our business users’ fingertips.
As you iteratively creep across the corporate landscape of data, remember when you put something in a production environment – IT WILL CHANGE. As the business changes, and the business users become more sophisticated in information usage, we need to expect change.