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Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment

What is a Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment?

To gain the most value and success from a data warehouse strategy, an important first step is to conduct a readiness assessment. Oak Enterprises' Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment examines the state of an organization relative to the delivery of data warehouse solutions. It looks at both the current state and the desired state within categorical groupings and assesses the gap between the two states. As a benchmark, the desired state is compared to industry trends.

The readiness assessment requires the use of a comprehensive set of characteristics that collectively measure the capability of the data warehouse environment across five (5) basic categories, as illustrated below:

Data Warehouse Categories

This comprehensive assessment provides a balanced scorecard of the strengths and weaknesses of the organization's data warehouse environment.

Why is a Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment Needed?

Implementing a data warehouse is, in many ways, analogous to operating a business. There are many inter-related components and poor execution of any one of them can endanger its success. Also, focusing on only one or two elements greatly increases the risk of strategic misalignment - and failure.

There are many factors and considerations within each individual component that must be taken into account. For example, if the data environment is incorrectly architected, the cost of implementation can be dramatically impacted.

The cost of implementation and maintenance can also be significantly higher if the data warehouse is approached in a piecemeal, disjointed fashion, even though the end result might be satisfactory.

In short, if all the pieces are not considered - and in alignment - the success of a data warehouse is greatly minimized.

Key Objectives of a Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the characteristics and measurements that impact data warehouse strategies and initiatives
  • Understand the overall capability of the data warehouse environment and the core assets supporting it
  • Highlight areas where significant gaps exist and build consensus in areas where improvements are needed
  • Develop common understanding of the level and nature of change required for successful data warehouse implementation
  • Formulate a position, strategy and plan to address critical areas of the data warehouse function

Oak's Approach to a Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment


An Oak Enterprises Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment consists of a number of intermediate work products that provide a foundation for successful data warehouse implementation. These deliverables are developed and packaged along with a final report that is reviewed with the Executive Sponsor at the end of the project. The major deliverables of a Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment are:

Data Warehouse Readiness Model

  • Gap Analysis Report (using a Kiviat Diagram)
  • Benchmark Comparisons
  • Findings and Recommendations

Kiviat Diagram Gap Analysis

A Kiviat Diagram is a tool that graphically portrays the results of a Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment. A Kiviat Diagram resembles a wagon wheel, each spoke representing one factor or characteristic of analysis. The degree to which an organization is positioned with a characteristic is displayed at a point on a spoke. Zero position is at the center (hub) of the diagram, with the highest position being at the rim of the wagon wheel. The connected points result in a polygon.

Assessment categories and the characteristics for each category are established and defined. One Kiviat Diagram is created for each major category (organization, data, business, technical and application) to be assessed. For each diagrammed category, a number of characteristics are plotted on the diagram. Both current state and desired state are charted on one diagram. Using a scale of zero (low) to ten (high), the ratings for each characteristic are plotted on the diagram and the points for each characteristic are connected to form a polygon. The areas are then colored coded to show the "gap" between current and desired state.

Example of a Kiviat Diagram for one of the assessment categories:


This document describes an initial Data Warehouse Readiness Assessment, which is strongly recommended prior to a data warehouse implementation. Organizations should also consider annual readiness assessments, which are essentially checkpoints of achievement levels between the current and previous assessments.

Assessing a company's data warehouse environment can be a daunting task without the proper focus and tools. Oak Enterprises' Data Warehouse Practice uses a simple, straightforward solution that provides the necessary information so that senior management can make informed decisions that yield the highest return.

Data Warehouse solutions are an integral part of today's enterprise. The viability of the data warehouse function and information assets could very well be one of the primary competitive advantages of an enterprise.

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