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A proven path to success

Use Teradata Professional Services to guide your data warehouse implementation.

Forward-thinking companies realize the importance of an enterprise data warehouse (EDW). They know it is required for obtaining deep operational and strategic insights into their businesses. But organizations differ on how difficult they think it is to implement a data warehouse.

Some are reluctant to begin the project because of its scope. Others are convinced they can handle the job internally, unaware that developing a data warehouse is different from working on any other type of technology project in its complexity and level of involvement.

Most companies realize they require the services and industry-leading expertise of an accomplished source to guide them through each step of the process.

Overcome roadblocks

Left alone, many data warehouse implementations run the risk of failure because of obstacles like competing projects, bad hardware architecture and improper design, or a scope too large to achieve timely results. Data quality issues and other broken operational processes can also impede progress.

Furthermore, many organizations lack corporate vision and support. Executives who don’t fully appreciate that their data is an important corporate asset can delay funding and hinder governance policies.

To overcome these adversities and ensure the successful completion of a data warehouse project, best practices suggest taking advantage of the assistance offered by a knowledgeable and experienced group of service providers. The Teradata Professional Services team, with its group of consultants committed to the success of their customers, can work with your company and help manage your data warehouse project. The team has implemented data warehouse projects worldwide in multiple industries. From the knowledge and experience gained through these engagements, the team has developed a proven methodology that is adaptable to any organization.

Plan development

Before any project is started, its scope must be determined, a plan developed, and the necessary tools and work force established. Your Teradata Professional Services partner will work with you and your team to create a project worksheet detailing each step and task of the implementation process. The worksheet takes into account the expertise your organization has on its enterprise data, business rules and success goals; outside assistance from other third-party vendors; and the overall product and implementation knowledge the Teradata Professional Services team can provide. In the end, you’re given complete flexibility on whether the task ownership and resource staffing are provided by your company, Teradata or other third-party organizations. (See figure.)

When evaluating the scope of the project, you and your team leaders will consult with your Teradata Professional Services partner and the Teradata solution architect about whether the project needs to be broken down into more manageable segments. The desired outcome for each 90- to 120-day iteration will help determine the tasks, resource requirements, recommended skill sets and assignment duration.

Accommodations are provided in the plan for project ramp-up and ramp-down; closeout, internal and external costs; and scheduling considerations such as vacations and holidays. A section enables you to track assumptions until they are agreed upon or otherwise resolved.

From this worksheet, statements of work and project plans are created. Not all personnel will start at once, as some tasks aren’t undertaken until later. For example, logical data modeling occurs before physical data modeling, which is needed to complete the design of the extract, transform and load (ETL) processes, and so on. Some activity overlap will occur, but the worksheet can be used to generate the appropriate staffing schedule.

Keep in mind that before any external team members are brought on board, you will need adequate lead time to obtain for them the necessary approvals for security accounts, access to the Internet and appropriate facilities, and to establish physical workspaces.

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Project on-boarding

The Teradata Professional Services partner and the project manager will collaborate on preparation details in a phase called project on-boarding. These activities include creating a document of the complete team roster, a project overview and plan, and the current architecture and tools used. The project manager sends the document to the team in advance. Preparing and updating the team with background information and task lists before the project starts is invaluable. It keeps the project on schedule and the team members informed without spending client time at the onset.

Team meetings are then held so each function can be explained in detail and information on customer requirements, expectations and protocol can be distributed and discussed. Through this ramp-up process, team members gain an understanding of your company and the project goals and objectives.

Throughout the project’s life cycle, circumstances will arise that could expand the scope of the project. When this happens, the Teradata Professional Services partner or program manager will identify the new requirements or additional data sources. This information is used to understand the impact to the current schedule or cost. After these are addressed with your management team, a formal change control process is created to modify the statement of work, the project plan and the resources that are engaged, if necessary.

Step by step

Regarding each member of the task force as an essential component of the team is conducive to a successful project, whether the person is from your organization, Teradata or another third-party vendor. The table shows a breakdown of the typical team members from each of these organizations.

An example of a 15-week project, which provides for two weeks of planning, is shown below. The chart shows how each team member is involved at specific times depending on the task and area of expertise. For instance, the Teradata representative sets up and configures the database the week before the project officially begins. This continues on through the first “actual” week. The ETL is designed in week three by a Teradata team member, but your in-house and third-party ETL developers don’t get involved until four weeks later.

With the guidance provided by a flowchart or workstream from the Teradata Solutions Methodology, all parties work together through the different phases of each step in the project. Identify, analyze, design, develop, deploy and improve are the phases, which drill down on each workstream for specific activities, collateral, templates and tools that are necessary to achieve each step’s objective.

For example, for the data integration phase of an EDW project, data gathering and cleansing requirements are developed before the data loading process can be created and performed. All data standards must be established in order to build a physical data model. Tasks required to build a high-level data integration architecture are included. And, of course, testing is essential to considering this phase of the data warehouse project ready for production.

Teradata Solutions Methodology: Value at every step

Many IT professionals plan a data warehouse based on their experiences with other IT projects. But building a data warehouse is much more extensive and intricate, and it needs its own development strategy. A good methodology helps ensure a project’s quality, consistency and timeliness.

The patent-pending Teradata Solutions Methodology is a collection of integrated processes, customized tools and quantifiable metrics—from initial strategic planning to technical implementation—that brings value to every piece of the design and implementation. User training and ongoing support are provided to ensure a smooth transition and expert backing.

Developed out of more than 23 years of experience implementing data warehouses, the Teradata Solutions Methodology is continually refined with best practices learned from the world’s most successful data warehouse projects.

—D.R.S.

Knowledge transfer

After a data warehouse is installed, there are always new sources of data to integrate, additional business questions to ask and changes to regulatory requirements that organizations need to quickly address. Your data warehouse should enable your company to successfully use that data, answer those questions and breathe easier about meeting regulations.

To fully utilize the tools and applications available, you must be knowledgeable about your data warehouse environment and confident in your ability to manage the system. For that reason, a driving point of the Teradata Professional Services philosophy is to make its customers more self-sufficient after the implementation is complete but before its team leaves the customer’s site.

Part of any Teradata Professional Services engagement includes a variety of mechanisms to transfer knowledge, such as:

  • Client mentoring
  • Lunch-and-learn sessions
  • Informal and formal training curricula
  • Technical forums

Additionally, for two weeks after the project has gone live, a senior-level Teradata consultant remains to ensure continuity of processes, performance and expectations. Teradata also offers a full suite of managed services that can be tailored to your company’s needs, providing another option for ongoing support and access to the entire community of Teradata experts.

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Ready for business

Choosing the right consultant is key to the success of your data warehousing project. A professional services team with the right skills, knowledge, methodology and best practices can save many hours of unnecessary delay and rework. Teradata consultants average 12 years of experience in data warehousing, and many are highly sought technical and thought leaders in their fields.

It’s undeniable that greater business value and insight are gained when your data is transformed into an asset. Working with Teradata Professional Services, your organization can expect a high EDW implementation success rate, and your IT staff will become more self-sufficient, confident and knowledgeable about the data warehouse system and what it can provide your company.


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Datawatch Q4-2014