Now that you have a solid data strategy in place, you will likely start down the path of building a solution (a data warehouse, a business intelligence tool, a reporting platform, etc.). The actual build of a data platform can be a daunting process but you can improve your chances for a successful project by following some best practices we have amassed over the years:
- Buy in. Get all business and technical stakeholders on board before the project starts and keep them engaged during the project. This includes building a single team of consultants (if you are using them), the IT team, and various business teams (finance, accounting, marketing, operations, etc.).
- Access. Line up access to the source systems for your project prior to starting the build phase. This is particularly important if you plan on leveraging consultants to build the platform as this access always takes longer than planned. Delays in access will delay your project.
- Environments. If procuring hardware, ensure this process is completed prior to the start of the project. Having development, test, and production environments is highly recommended and we have found procurement & configuration always take longer than anticipated. Leveraging on demand cloud environments can help mitigate this risk.
- Scope. Ensure all stakeholders are aware of what is in scope as well as what is out of scope.
- Build iteratively. Rather than building the entire platform and deploying it at the end of the project, build iteratively. Nothing beats real feedback and testing. Building the platform in phases allows users to get hands on with data early and provides an extended testing period for the new platform.
- Validate. Enable business users to use the system as components are deployed iteratively and compare data from legacy platforms to data from the new platform. Identify discrepancies and trace causes back to the source.
Contact us if you would like to discuss building a data platform for your organization or if you have additional thoughts we should consider adding to our list.