Build an Extensible Data Warehouse Foundation

Establish a well-architected core model with just enough oversight and governance.


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Your Challenge

  • Data warehouse implementation is a costly and complex undertaking, and can end up not serving the business' needs appropriately.
  • Too heavy a focus on technology creates a data warehouse that isn’t sustainable and ends up with poor adoption.
  • Emerging data sources and technologies add complexity to how the appropriate data is made available to business users.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • A data warehouse is a project; but successful data warehousing is a program. An effective data warehouse requires planning beyond the technology implementation.
  • Governance, not technology needs to be the core support system for enabling a data warehouse program.
  • Understand business processes at the operational, tactical, and ad hoc levels to ensure a fit-for-purpose DW is built.

Impact and Result

  • Leverage an approach that focuses on constructing a data warehouse foundation that is able to address a combination of operational, tactical, and ad hoc business needs.
  • Invest time and effort to put together pre-project governance to inform and provide guidance to your data warehouse implementation.
  • Develop “Rosetta Stone” views of your data assets to facilitate data modeling.
  • Select the most suitable architecture pattern to ensure the data warehouse is “built right” at the very beginning.


  • Chris Debo, Senior Manager, Schneider Downs & Co., Inc.
  • Jaison Dominic, Lead Architect, Enterprise Data Warehouse, Moffitt Cancer Center
  • Liselle Ramcharan, Project Manager, TD Insurance
  • Randy Piscione, Enterprise Data Architect, BMO Financial Group
  • Sree Pulapaka, Director of Enterprise Business Innovation and Analytics, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
  • 1 anonymous contributor

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why the data warehouse is becoming an important tool for driving business value, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Prepare for the data warehouse foundation project

    Begin the data warehouse foundation by defining the project and governance teams, as well as reviewing supporting data management practices.

  2. Establish the business drivers and data warehouse strategy

    Using the business activities as a guide, develop a data model, data architecture, and technology plan for a data warehouse foundation.

  3. Plan for data warehouse governance

    Start developing a data warehouse program by defining how users will interact with the new data warehouse environment.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Prepare for the data warehouse foundation project

  • Call #1: Discuss structuring your project team, defining success metrics and risks, and organizing a steering committee.

  • Call #2: Discuss the impacts of other data management practices on your data warehouse foundation project.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Establish the business drivers and data warehouse strategy

  • Call #1: Walk through how to characterize operational, tactical, and ad hoc business processes that will guide the data warehouse.

  • Call #2: Discuss the four “Rosetta Stones” for data modeling.

  • Call #3: Develop an architecture strategy based on business and data needs, and review the data warehouse vendor landscape.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Plan for data warehouse governance

  • Call #1: Plan for the formation of a data warehouse center of excellence.

  • Call #2: Discuss defining standard operating procedures and service-level agreements for the data warehouse.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Prepare for the Data Warehouse Foundation Project

The Purpose

  • Identify the members of the foundation project team.
  • Define overarching statements and define success factors/risks.
  • Outline basic project governance.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Defined membership, roles, and responsibilities involved in the foundation project.
  • Establishment of a steering committee as a starting point for the data warehouse program.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Identify foundation project team and create a RACI chart.
  • Job Descriptions and RACI
  • Data Warehouse Steering Committee Charter
1.2 Understand what a data warehouse can and cannot enable.
1.3 Define critical success factors, key performance metrics, and project risks.
  • Data Warehouse Foundation Project Plan
1.4 Develop rough timelines for foundation project completion.
  • Work Breakdown Structure
1.5 Define the current and future states for key data management practices.

Module 2: Establish the Business Drivers and Data Warehouse Strategy

The Purpose

  • Define the information needs of the business and its key processes.
  • Create the components that will inform an appropriate data model.
  • Design a data warehouse architecture model.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Clear definition of business needs that will directly inform the data and architecture models.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Understand the most fundamental needs of the business.
  • Data Warehouse Program Charter
2.2 Define the data warehouse vision, mission, purpose, and goals.
  • Data Warehouse Vision and Mission
2.3 Detail the most important operational, tactical, and ad hoc activities the data warehouse should support.
2.4 Link the processes that will be central to the data warehouse foundation.
  • Documentation of Business Processes
2.5 Walk through the four-column model and business entity modeling as a starting point for data modeling.
  • Business Entity Map
2.6 Create data models using the business data glossary and data classification.
  • Business Data Glossary
  • Data Classification Scheme
2.7 Identify master data elements to define dimensions.
2.8 Design lookup tables based on reference data.
2.9 Create a fit-for-purpose data warehousing model.
  • Data Warehouse Architecture Model

Module 3: Plan for Data Warehouse Governance

The Purpose

  • Create a plan for governing your data warehouse efficiently and effectively.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Documentation of current standard operating procedures.
  • Identified members of a data warehouse center of excellence.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Develop a technology capability map to visualize your desired state.
  • Technology Capability Map
3.2 Establish a data warehouse center of excellence.
3.3 Create a data warehouse foundation roadmap.
  • Project Roadmap
3.4 Define data warehouse service level agreements.
  • Service Level Agreement
3.5 Create standard operating procedures.
  • Data Warehouse Standard Operating Procedure Workbook

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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