What is business speed? The business’ needs for information continue to increase in breadth, depth and speed. Another challenge is that our data generation is growing just as fast as the demand. This makes building an information solution that is fast and nimble but is also robust, secure and accurate more challenging. The key to meeting this challenge is selecting the right tools and architecture and building the right foundation. There may be times that you need to deliver a solution to the business prior to the foundation being finalized but this can be allowed for in your architecture and implementation methodology.
It is no longer acceptable to wait for 24 or 18 or 12 or even 6 months to deliver critical information out of your EDW. It is important to be able to deliver information to the business quickly and in an iterative manner. One important concept to understand is that business users generally do not understand the data contained in a data warehouse until they are able to start physically using it. That means having the tools and process along with strong governance in place to give the business access to the data as soon as possible. Then they can familiarize themselves with the data and start turning it into actionable information. This does not preclude the gathering of clear requirements nor should it be viewed as a free for all environment. The IT organization should have key resources that work hand-in-hand with the business during this data discovery process.
Data discovery is a technique that allows the business to work with real data in a discovery environment, which is like a sandbox environment for IT. However the data in the discovery area may not have the breadth, depth or performance of production, but there is enough data that the business user can fulfill the requirements of what they are trying to deliver. It is important that this environment have accurate and clean data for the business users. The business users should have clear goals and requirements in mind, so you can help them become successful. It may require an IT architect or data analyst to help the business if the data needs to be joined together. Once the business has completed the data discovery process, the path to production will be simplified.