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Implementing a data warehouse: Outsource or in-house with consultants?

Considering that we don't have the resources available in-house currently, what would be the best strategy for implementing a data warehouse: outsourcing or in-house development with consultants?

As you might expect, the right approach depends on several factors. The most significant being, what is the longer term goals/vision of your enterprise? And what is the near term and long term budget for implementing and supporting a data warehousing environment?

Do you anticipate grooming your people to acquire the skills for designing and administering the data warehouseing environment? If the answer to this is yes, you should consider contracting a consulting organization that specializes in data warehousing and data integration solutions. Also make sure the consultancy has as one of its primary objectives, the effective knowledge transfer of skills into your organization. This means they must develop comprehensive design guides and procedure guides encompassing each signficant step of the project as well be prepare a comprehensive knoweldge transfer program prior to wrapping up the project.

Do you anticipate being able to secure funding to implement an in-house solution? If you don't know the answer to this question, I encourage you to develop a data warehouse program plan. This is an effort that lasts 3-4 weeks and delivers a comprehensive plan including anticipated costs, anticipated business benefits, and a comprehensive roll out plan to get the program started and keep it sustained.

If your business has a need for a business intelligence platform and you do not anticipate being able to develop the solution anytime soon within the IT infrastructure, then I highly recommend looking into a Business Intelligence Service Provider (BISP) to provide the business intelligence functionality with little or no changes to the current IT infrastructure. You pay a monthly subscription fee and let the BISP develop, maintain, enhance and support the platform for your business. If in the future you decide to bring the data warehouse in-house, you would be able to port the solution. A properly architectured data warehouse would require rehoming of database IP addresses and the execution of software licenses to use tools like the ETL tool and BI tool.

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