In Search of a Single Version of Truth: Strategies for Consolidating Analytic Silos

Critical findings indicate organizations are focusing on consolidation and reaping a big return on investment

Critical findings indicate organizations are focusing on consolidation and reaping a big return on investment

Seattle, WA — July 28, 2004 — The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), a provider of in-depth education and research in the business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing industry, has released the second report in its 2004 Report Series, "In Search of a Single Version of Truth: Strategies for Consolidating Analytic Silos." Report findings indicate that although few organizations have fully consolidated, activity is ramping up and return on investment is high for those who succeed.

Key findings in this report include:

* Organizations have an average of two data warehouses, six independent data marts, 4.5 ODSs, and 28.5 spreadmarts left to consolidate. To date, they've only consolidated about one-third of all the structures in their environment.

* The most prevalent driver of consolidation is the need for consistent data across the enterprise. Almost all survey respondents (90 percent) rated this factor as "very high" or "high." This was followed by "reducing costs and overhead" (71 percent) and "standardizing the information technology (IT) portfolio" (50 percent).

* Only 11 percent of organizations have completed a project to consolidate analytic silos. However, a majority (56 percent) are in the process of designing or implementing a consolidation project, and another 26 percent are exploring the idea. Only 7 percent have "no plans."

* The average return on investment (ROI) for consolidation projects is $3.34 million. The average payback period for consolidation projects is 2.1 years.

* Survey respondents indicated (61 percent) that a central data warehouse architecture is the preferred post-consolidated environment.

* One of the biggest challenges with consolidation is obtaining agreement from business group representatives on terms and definitions governing data in the new consolidated environment.

The second report in TDWI's 2004 series was authored by Wayne Eckerson, director of research at TDWI. "This report sheds light on several key questions surrounding consolidation initiatives today," said Eckerson. "Where to begin? What are the different approaches to consolidation? What are the biggest challenges? What are best practices for consolidation? We hope this snapshot of consolidation activity and lessons learned will help organizations as they move forward with this critical initiative."

The research for this report is based on a survey that TDWI conducted in early 2004, as well as interviews with industry "experts," including end-user organizations, BI consultants, industry analysts and report sponsors. A majority of the 615 qualified respondents (59 percent) were corporate IT professionals. The remainder included independent consultants (30 percent) and business sponsors/users (11 percent). Respondents' company sizes ranged from small to large corporations.

More than one-third of the qualified respondents (38 percent) work at companies that have revenues in excess of $1 billion, while 51 percent have less than $1 billion. Most respondents are based in the United States and work in a range of industries, the largest portion of which are consulting and financial services.

The TDWI Report Series is designed to educate technical and business professionals about critical issues in business intelligence and data warehousing. TDWI's in-depth reports offer objective, vendor-neutral research consisting of interviews with practitioners and industry experts and a survey of business intelligence and data warehousing professionals worldwide. TDWI in-depth reports are sponsored by vendors who collectively wish to evangelize a business intelligence and data warehousing discipline or emerging technology.

Report sponsors included: Ascential Software Corp.; Hummingbird, Ltd.; Informatica Corp.; Teradata, a division of NCR; and Unisys Corp.