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Ronald Damhof

I have been a BI/DW practitioner for more than 15 years. In the last few years, I have become increasingly annoyed - even frustrated - by the lack of (scientific) rigor in the field of data warehousing and business intelligence. It is not uncommon for the knowledge worker to be disillusioned by the promise of business intelligence and data warehousing because vendors and consulting organizations create their "own" frameworks, definitions, super-duper tools etc.

What the field needs is more connectedness (grounding and objectivity) to the scientific community. The scientific community needs to realize the importance of increasing their level of relevance to the practice of technology.

For the next few years, I have decided to attempt to build a solid bridge between science and technology practitioners. As a dissertation student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, I hope to discover ways to accomplish this. With this blog I hope to share some of the things I learn in my search and begin discussions on this topic within the international community.

Your feedback is important to me. Please let me know what you think. My email address is Ronald.damhof@prudenza.nl.

About the author >

Ronald Damhof is an information management practitioner with more than 15 years of international experience in the field.

His areas of focus include:

  1. Data management, including data quality, data governance and data warehousing;
  2. Enterprise architectural principles;
  3. Exploiting data to its maximum potential for decision support.
Ronald is an Information Quality Certified Professional (International Association for Information and Data Quality one of the first 20 to pass this prestigious exam), Certified Data Vault Grandmaster (only person in the world to have this level of certification), and a Certified Scrum Master. He is a strong advocate of agile and lean principles and practices (e.g., Scrum). You can reach him at +31 6 269 671 84, through his website at http://www.prudenza.nl/ or via email at ronald.damhof@prudenza.nl.

February 2010 Archives

What we all knew was true, but could not get across to management, is now more scientifically proven. The decision process regarding the outsourcing of a DSS is influenced by significantly other characteristics, when compared to OLTP. If you are interested in the details, the theory and the underlying data, please read:

Factors considered when outsourcing an IS system:an empirical examination of the impacts of organizations size, Strategy and the object of a decision (DSS or OLTP).

B.Berg and A.Stylianou in the European Journal of Information systems (2009 18, 235-248)

I still encounter organizations who are stuck in the OLTP world, even when the object of decision regarding outsourcing is completely different on many dimensions. They tend to use the same decision process regarding the outsourcing as they always did...whether they outsource an ERP, a CRM system a data warehouse or a more elaborate BI system.

In their research the authors found significant differences between the outsourcing of an OLTP and DSS in 15 of the 19 decision factors they examined. That's a hell of a difference....It turns out that the weight of these differences originated mainly from the supplier factors. In outsourcing a DSS the supplier factor where rated significantly higher as an influencer in the decision to outsource;

- The unfamiliarity with DSS technology
- Knowing the service provider's employees
- To reduce labor costs
- The service provider's expertise with outsourcing DSS
- The trustworthiness of the service provider's employees
- The service provider's current overall investments in OLTP/DSS
- To take advantage of different education systems at our service provider's location
- The service provider's employees' understanding of our needs

Bascially - outsourcing a DSS system - especially with firms that follow a differentiation strategy (these firms tend to recognize the unique strategic importance of DSSs), is very much influenced by the customer-provider relationship and the providers expertise in DSS. That sounds like a 'duh', but it is not. Because, what its also saying is that outsourcing a DSS system is not a commodity. You just can't tender a DSS into an 'open' world where service providers just sign in and win or loose based on measurable criteria. In practice we have seen that fail - big time! Now, science seems to be on our site.


Dear managers,

Outsourcing a DSS is not the same as outsourcing an OLTP.
No, your OLTP service provider might not be the suitable provider for your DSS.

Kind regards,

Ronald Damhof

Posted February 8, 2010 7:47 AM
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