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Small company, small data warehouse – Now you see the ROI, now you don’t

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Small company, small data warehouse – Now you see the ROI, now you don’t


We are sitting in a grey-on-grey room. It could be anywhere. The client sits opposite me, there are a few others around us but they don’t count. The chemistry works, then we’ll see what the numbers say. By now I know his favourite beach at the Balaton, but we are not getting any closer. I’m waiting because I know how these things go. I haven’t any favourite spot, I let it go. We talk shop, I feel that he already knows about IT. It is like we are getting nearer to the point, as if the eagle is a closer ancestor than the orangutan. Then the kill: “Here is this data warehouse,” and he arrived prepared with processes, system designs and expectations. What’s more, he is understanding, accepts that this is a long-term investment, a learning curve, a developing process. At the end, there is the data-based knowledge in a few thin slices, with which it is possible to come to well-founded decisions, and the up-till-now make-do solutions can be dumped. I feel myself to be a totally responsible expert, and then the realization hits like a lightning bolt: this cannot be reality, I didn’t once hear about the ROI. I’m scared. I accept why companies cannot continue to operate in the usual way, that the monthly/annual closures and reports are done by Mancika in such a way that she asks for the summaries of the local tables from everywhere, then she audits these through the filter of past years and established routine, then she returns the tables, few or many, and after a limited number of attempts, just a few hours before the submission deadline, a ‘GOOD’ version is moulded from them. “Yes, the great work is completed. The machine turns, the creator rests.”[1] However, not resting fully because she knows that it is not possible to produce the same thing the same way again, but this at least is done. I feel that the majority of companies submit these reports like when I’m in a hurry on my bike. The six-cylinder boxer motor howls, the decision firms up that “I will get there” and I put aside a 100 at the first hard acceleration, just in case there is an unexpected VÉDA speed camera or anything that checks compliance with the rules. The sum put aside for the fine can act as a safety net, there if sometime somebody monitors something. Or perhaps isn’t there such a great awareness? It could be the question of my life, whether it is truly like that or I only just imagine it, and if so, then the sum put aside, or maybe the price of the company car of the head honcho, is in what proportion to the installation of a data warehouse. I can proudly build a low budget data warehouse, a little bit open source, a little bit budget, a little bit not very pretty, but at least accurate, and already while under construction it brings to the surface problems that had been hidden up till now. Does anybody want this? Of course not. Who wants to be sincere with the investor, the tax authority or themselves, and to operate alongside some sort of processes? OK, this was a rhetorical question. Let everything stay as it is, let it be the playground of the greats and the few. I sense there will be no business, the client is also feeling slightly uncomfortable, he has already glanced at his watch, a lot smarter than me, for the third time, the salesgirl keeps trying, and strangely I hear: is there a service for data warehouse? When did it happen? How does it work? I similarly begin to feel uncomfortable. My left hand goes numb, the glass in front of me is empty, I am thirsty.

I wake up. It was just a dream, a dream within a dream. I give my hand a massage and then the day starts. Two minutes for breakfast and brushing teeth. I’m thinking about what’s up with this ROI. I know how to build a low-cost data warehouse with spectacular graphics, but does anyone need it?

 Author: Levente Erdey, INNObyte Architekt

[1] Imre Madách – The Tragedy of Man


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