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Data warehouse and business intelligence team reporting structure

Learn why data warehouse and business intelligence (DW/BI) team reporting structure matters, according to an expert. And find out who the DW/BI team should report to.

I noticed in one of your articles that you say you've noticed more data warehouse/business intelligence (DW/BI)

teams reporting to the CFO. I am looking to support that position. Can you help me make the argument for this reporting structure?

You must be referring to my answer to a question about data warehouse and business intelligence team structure.

I will answer your question about how to support your position, but in reality I highly prefer, and believe it best, for the data warehouse/business intelligence (DW/BI) team to report to the CIO and not to the CFO. However, what has happened is that in many places, IT has lost their foothold. An immense amount of IT leadership is required these days to show continued relevance and value. By allowing patchwork architectures to proliferate that under-serve the business, IT leadership is under-serving the business themselves.

Continued focus solely on the tactical is insufficient for IT today. Consequently, business unit IT organizations proliferate and occasionally take on enterprise-level initiatives such as data warehousing and business intelligence. So, while I acknowledge a (re) trend of IT placement under the CFO, I would still like to see the data warehouse/business intelligence team reporting to good leadership in IT. There, data warehouse and business intelligence teams can usually be more centrally leveraged.

So, with that unexpected preamble, to support the argument of having the data warehousing/business intelligence teams anywhere in the company, I would address the concern of leverage. In other words, do the people taking its charge understand the enterprise service nature of data warehousing and business intelligence?

I say all this about leverage and corporate-wide integration, but in reality the ultimate data warehouse/ business intelligence team reporting structure, if that's your concern, depends heavily on what the deciding party is interested in -- and many times, that is not service to an organization, but to a single application. I would still build a data warehouse/business intelligence team with scalability so it can continue to serve well beyond the first application.

This was first published in August 2008

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