Thought leadership

Data Warehousing – Why it must be owned and driven by the information consumers

Everyone agrees that as data volumes expand, more needs to be done to control and manage that data appropriately. But where do you start?

This was validated at a live poll during our annual International User Community Meeting (IUCM), in which a data warehouse was considered one of the top three priorities - with 50% of the votes - by our clients in the next two years.

Steve Young is Principal at Citisoft, an investment management consulting firm and states, “In reality, the challenge most firms are facing (whether they admit it or not) is that they don’t really know what data they have, what they can use it for, or where to start.” Regardless of the size of the organization, it is a recurring theme where data proliferation results in degradation of data quality and transparency. In my view, technology can only do so much to help, as organizational change and data governance and ownership also plays a pivotal role.

Our internal research shows that many firms are still at the initial phase of considering a data warehouse, while many more have no plans yet for one. But as Steve Young alludes to, many firms simply don’t know where to start. Below, I identify three important elements firms should consider when embarking on their data warehouse journey.

1. Successful data warehouse projects are owned and evolved by the business organization

Any data consumer will need to not only trust the data content and timeliness of it but also have business agility. A data warehouse can provide the mechanism to have control, and implement ownership and governance rules, but agility can only be gained if ownership and the ability to implement change quickly is led by the business. It is the business-side that understands the need and acts upon it. There are many examples where inhouse built data warehouse’s have become multi-year projects with no concrete deliverables. In most cases, these failed projects have been IT-led.

2. Finding a single business problem to start with ensures end-user buy-in and faster return on investment

With any implementation project it is critical to show progress and deliver business value along the way. A regulatory driver or a point solution delivery can help get end-user buy-in and every success furthervalidates the need for change. This is especially true where organizational change causes a complete shift in the traditional mindset, such as seeing a project moved out of IT and into the business organization.

Within SimCorp’s Data Warehouse community, almost all projects have started delivering an initial solution such as a regulatory driver or for client reporting, within six months. With successful and timely deliverables there is more adoption, acceptance and appetite to build upon a project.

3. Following proven industry standard methodologies results in a robust solution

It is much easier to focus on short-term gains and deliver to meet them, but one eye needs to stay focused on the strategic vision. Without having a proven solution that can meet future demands, it can easily result in continuous rework and very often patch work fixes to support future change and strategic roadmap with hugely extended timelines.

Projects to build an in-house system often turn into multi-year projects with no end in sight. SimCorp’s Data Warehouse is specifically designed on industry-recognized best practices (namely Ralph Kimball) together with our expert domain knowledge of the investment management space, thus ensuring we can enable our clients to deliver successfully.

Furthermore, adopting industry standards for data warehousing ensures that we are following standardized best practice methodologies with a proven success rate and market wide adoption. For our clients, they have the additional benefit of using a product which combines the expertise and knowledge of SimCorp specialists together with best practice design of a Data Warehouse. 


As well as these three points that all firms should have top-of-mind, I recently presented to over 100 SimCorp clients about data warehousing. One of the key observations was the greatly accelerated deployment capability of the standardized SimCorp Data Warehouse. At the event, I demonstrated the ability to create a fully populated data warehouse in just over six minutes, which included all the transactional, reference and static data as well as performance data from a test system.

Using SimCorp’s Data Warehouse is no longer an implementation based on an empty canvas but the starting foundation is a tangible product which can be deployed quickly with usable and relevant business data. This reduces the need for technology design and keeps the focus on the potential business value.

Read more about our Data Warehouse solution.

To continue the discussion, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.