Besides having the right skills the other top

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Besides having the right skills, the other top priority was ensuring data quality. “It seems kind of obvious,” says Harding, “but sometimes these projects forget about quality, and then the data warehouse ends up being worthless because nobody trusts it.” So at the outset of the project, the team interviewed about 175 potential business users to determine the informa- tion they needed to access and the reports they wanted to see. Plus, the team analyzed the old paper reports and the condition of the data housed in the company’s core transaction system. Monahan says those steps brought to light the importance of cleansing data in a system that’s designed for transactional pur- poses but not suitable for a data warehouse. That led to a long period of standardizing transactional codes in order to produce the sales reporting that business analysts needed. “It’s the in-house people who have this gold coin of knowledge of how their systems really work, which data is re- ally good and not so good, and how the end users really want to use the data,” Kimball says. “Data quality is the hardest part of the project, because it’s very time-consuming and de- tailed, and not everyone appreciates it unless they’ve been through a couple of projects, like Daryll has,” Harding says. And there was yet another tedious obstacle. The data warehouse was designed to provide a very granular level of detail about customers, “so we can slice and dice at will,” Harding says. But the result was sluggish system perform-
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  • Fall '15
  • JUHA
  • Vice President of the United States

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