Research Output
A configuration approach for selecting a data warehouse architecture
  Living in the Information Age, organisations must be able to exploit their data alongside the traditional economic resources of man, machine and money. Accordingly, organisations implement data warehouses to organise and consolidate their data, which creates a decision support system that is “subject oriented”, “time variant”, “integrated” and “non-volatile”. However, the organisation's ability to successfully exploit their data is determined by the degree of strategic alignment. As such, this study poses the question: how can a data warehouse be successfully and demonstrably aligned to an organisation's strategic objectives? This thesis demonstrates that strategic alignment can be achieved by following a new "top down" data warehouse implementation framework, the Configuration Approach, which is based upon determining an organisation's target configuration. This was achieved by employing Miles and Snow's Ideal Types to formulate a questionnaire that reveals an organisation's target configuration in terms of its approach to the Entrepreneurial, Administration and Information Systems challenges. Crucially, this thesis also provides the means to choose a data warehouse architecture that is wholly based on the organisation's target configuration. The Configuration Approach was evaluated using a single case study undergoing a period of strategic transformation where the implementation of a data warehouse was key to its strategic ambitions. The case study illustrated how it is possible to articulate an organisation's strategic configuration, which becomes the key driver for building a warehouse that demonstrably supports the resolution of its Entrepreneurial and Administration challenges.
Significantly, the case study also provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate how the target configuration helps organisations to make the right choice of data warehouse architecture to satisfy the Information Systems challenge. In this case, the Configuration Approach provides a basis for challenging the architectural choices made by a consultancy on behalf of the participating organisation. Accordingly, it can be asserted that data warehouses are strategic investments, if implemented using the Configuration Approach.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 May 2008

  • Publication Status:



Weir, R. A configuration approach for selecting a data warehouse architecture. (Thesis). Napier University. Retrieved from



Software design; Data warehouse; Data warehouse architecture; Management targets; Ideal types; Questionaires; 'Top down' software design; Configuration approach;

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