There are five things to consider when looking for the best data warehousing services: security, scope, legality of data ownership, stability and service level agreement (SLA). Data warehousing services are provided by a host of companies to help organizations set up a data warehouse without investing in additional equipment, infrastructure and staff. A data warehouse is a repository of digital information and is designed to provide enhanced reporting.
Information is power in the modern economy, and the security of data warehousing services is a high priority. There are two types of security that need to be addressed: physical and electronic. Physical security includes restricted access to the servers storing the data, inconspicuous physical presence of the building housing the equipment and off-site emergency backups. Electronic security refers to the data itself and is typically comprised of limited access to the data and the use of software programs to identify any unauthorized attempts to access the data.
Take the time to determine the scope of the data warehousing services that your organization requires before meeting with any sales representatives. Measure your current data storage size and identify the types of data warehousing solutions that would meet your company's needs and how they should be managed. Make sure that executives are involved in this process, so that they understand the costs and benefits of this type of solution. Failure to complete this item increases the risk of cost overruns and paying for services that are not required.
The law surrounding data ownership is behind the actual technology and business practices that are widely used in business. As a result, due diligence requires an investigation of the legal access and rights assumed by data warehousing services. In the United States, the Patriot Act has resulted in major changes in access rights and ownership. The impact for organizations outside the U.S. can be significant and should be fully investigated.
Make sure to look at the reputation, history and profiles of the executives before selecting data warehousing services. Ask for a list of references and talk with colleagues in your industry about the quality of customer service and integrity of the company. Complete an inspection of the physical space to get a better evaluation of the quality of the organization.
A service level agreement between two firms sets out the exact services to be provided, customer service expectations, payment and primary contact information. An SLA is negotiable, and every item should be reviewed and discussed in detail before approval. Comapnies that manage to the letter of the SLA achieve a better return on investment and higher quality of service than those who fail to properly negotiate and manage the vendor relationship.