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Data Sources: IT Operations and Development

IT operations and development must meet the requirements from the data warehouse about the delivery of data from the primary operational data sources or the development of new data sources. The different primary data sources in a company's environment and the data created are covered in Chapter 6.

As previously noted, a large number of people, competencies, and processes are involved in the creation of BA. Large organizations sometimes have several hundred people on all levels involved at the same time. In smaller companies, controllers and analysts must have a wider range of competencies to be able to carry out BA initiatives on their own.

It is important to realize that if something goes wrong in one of the layers of the BA model, the investment in BA may well be lost. If the management, in the top layer of the model, does not define one overall strategy, operational decision makers will not have a goal to work toward. The analyst won't know which analyses are required. It makes a big difference, for example, for the analyst to know whether the overall target is for the business to show a profit of $1.3 million after taxes, or whether the target is to be perceived as the most innovative enterprise—the two different targets require a completely different analytical approach and information deliverables. In data warehousing, the database specialist and the ETL developer won't know which data sources to retrieve, merge, enrich, and deliver to data marts (data prepared in the data warehouse for business use). IT operations and development won't be able to contribute by creating new data sources, since they don't know which new information and knowledge are required by the business. In other words, the whole thing becomes a messy affair without focus. One way of avoiding such a chaotic situation is to create a business analytics competency center (BACC), perhaps as a virtual organizational unit. We'll take a closer look at BACCs in Chapter 7.

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