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Identify Data You Need for Your Data Warehouse

Simply ask yourself this question: Looking at a complete list from within your company of all data sources that will provide data to the warehouse, what else do you need that you don’t already have on the list — and what can you not get somewhere else within the company to help make business decisions?

Here’s a list you can use as a starting point:

  • Your competitors’ unit and revenue sales results from the regions in which you both compete (or will compete)

  • Historical demographic data, such as population trends, per-household and per-capita income, and local and regional unemployment data

  • Economic forecasts

  • Information about your customers’ activities and behavior with companies other than your own

In addition to comparative data, be certain to look into partnerships. You might want to determine whether an information value chain has emerged because of key relationships with suppliers and vendors within your companies supply chain.

An information value chain is a set of interconnected data that relates to your business’s value chain, hopefully including the extended value chain data from your suppliers and buyers. For example, Wal-Mart provides stocking and sales information to Procter and Gamble — enabling proper store inventory levels and shipments to avoid overstocking, as well as making certain that stores always have stock available.

Similarly, a raw-materials provider needs to gain insight into a finished-goods manufacturer’s plans for production. And to connect all the components of this information value chain, the raw materials provider sees the finished goods manufacturer’s plans, which the manufacturer formulates by using the distribution partner’s sales figures.

If your company currently hasn’t opened up or gained access to your key partners’ data, try to pursue this style of information value chain.

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