Hi, my name is Matthew C. Kelly and I am the founder of Squarehouse. I've spent the last 20 years building enterprise software and the last 15 years focusing on Business Intelligence & Data Warehousing software and solutions to support many industries including retail, health care, finance and higher education.
Over that time, I learned that Enterprise Data Warehousing can be difficult to get right. It's an exercise requiring both functional and technical expertise and there's an art to getting it right. In fact, I find that it is difficult because it is as much art as it is science. To deal with this, I developed an approach to help businesses become successful with data warehousing.
Become technology agnostic
Get technology out of the way. We don't want you to be focused on the fact that you are building a data warehouse. Instead, we want you to relax and focus on the problems you are trying to solve. Our solutions and frameworks are built to help you do just that.
In order to get the best out of your business, you need to be focused on your business, not the technology. The data warehouse and its related technologies can be a block for your business professionals, so we aim to minimize those distractions as much as possible so that you can best define the problems you wish to solve.
Maximize what you already have
It is possible to build a business-changing data analysis and reporting practice to support your organization with very simple tools. In fact, utilizing the technology you already own will jumpstart your path along the data warehousing learning curve allowing you to integrate more, faster.
But shouldn’t the technology choice be dependent on the problem being solved? In part, yes, but there is wisdom in this approach. Your foray into data warehousing will be a journey of constant evolution. The sooner you move toward a more data-centric culture, the easier it will be to drive adoption, allowing your practice to evolve and garner bottom-line results over time.
I have actually found that businesses that try to start with complex toolsets bigger than what they're ready for tend to focus on what content and functionality to remove, rather than the value delivered by something more modest.
Your whole business needs to be involved
The data warehouse is not just an IT tool. Just like it takes many departments and roles to run a successful business, it is critical to bring your business' constituents together and cultivate a problem-solving chemistry among them in order to achieve the data-centric culture you desire.
It’s important to start with a realistic, achievable goal, but the risks of not including everyone in the design from the start can be far reaching, impacting areas outside of your reporting objectives. Lack of adoption, or having to further manipulate data to get answers to questions are the obvious potential issues, but the lack of an engaged team – one whose members are aware of everyone else’s issues – can affect your business’ overall objectives. It may be subtle, but the cross-functional team that is able to collaborate in concert sings a much richer harmony than the soloist can.
Remain focused on getting the model right
Finally, when you've been able to deliver a self-service reporting platform to your organization, it is critical to remain aware that your business has ever-changing needs. It will continue to be necessary to evolve your business process and data warehouse models to keep up with those needs and your platform will need to be flexible enough to adapt to whatever new problems you are trying to solve.
Remember, this is not a purely technical exercise – this is as much an artistic and creative endeavor. Solve problems with your data warehouse, don’t create them.
Define, integrate, collaborate and evolve.
This is my personal data warehousing philosophy and it represents the four pillars of the Squarehouse framework. We apply these principles with passion and diligence and believe they are at the heart of successful data warehousing, along with exceptional service and support.
I look forward to bringing you into the loop on the Squarehouse solutions in development in the coming weeks to show you how we bring these pillars to life in our products and services.
Matthew C. Kelly