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I am starting a new role, that is (technically) not IT related. I would really like to enhance what's going on with this team by building some dashboards to get around using some of the archaic reporting tools so much. Right now there are at least 6 different reporting tools for similar data that all give you different numbers. I imagine I'll be querying OLAP cubes to do this but my experience in this area is limited. The IT department is a total mess from the outside looking in.

How do I approach my IT department and request access to the data warehouse/SSaS server(s) so that I can set up my own OLAP cube(s) or gain access to ones already made. No one at the company has even been able to explain the infrastructure of the data to me.

My big data experience is beginner level like I said but I imagine it is something like Oracle cloud data and hadoop. Do I just ask about to infrastructure to a VP and go from there? How do I word this so that I don't sound like an idiot, I will definitely be learning as I go but am confident in my ability there. I can justify the business need, the data will be safe.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on how to word things and make the approach, etc. Thank you.

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    "How do I word this so that I don't sound like an idiot, I will definitely be learning as I go" and "the data will be safe" are mutually exclusive. – Tymoteusz Paul Jan 2 at 10:22
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    Ask for read-only access, not write-access. What's your current non-IT role? Is there an excuse your job could give you to have access to that data? – Stephan Branczyk Jan 2 at 10:23
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    Financial Analyst... so it shouldnt be as hard as it has been? I will probably need to set up the SSaS cubes myself. I mean the server would be a company server and theyd have their usual security protocols in place, – gary93 Jan 2 at 10:27
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    Is there any reason you would not ask your direct manager to clear it with IT? – Spehro Pefhany Jan 2 at 11:12
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    Haha I can see this happening, I think buzzword soup is strong. I do have a decent idea of what I want to do and how to do it I've just never done it before. My big data background is limited, my technical background is more than adequate for this project. Plus I'd be asking for sales data... I am a financial analyst... I think "no business" having access is strong. – gary93 Jan 2 at 13:35
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How do you approach this? It sounds like you have no idea whether your idea will be welcome. It might be very unwelcome, especially in a chaotic IT environment. People can be extremely possessive of their data.

You have to sell this idea to your company. Selling this kind of idea to companies generally requires somebody in the company to serve as a champion for the idea. You personally are too new to serve as the champion. Your champion needs to have enough clout to tell your IT people your idea is a priority.

Your first step is to write a short (no more than 300 words) document describing the benefits -- to the company -- of your project. This document is for you. It will help you get clarity about what you want to sell. Answer two questions: what and why. Skip over when, where, and how. Boil it down. Simplify it. ONE power-point slide. ONLY ONE. Work out your elevator pitch. (The time for a more complete proposal is later.)

Your second step is to show it to somebody in the company you trust. "I have an idea, what do you think?" Perhaps this is your direct supervisor, a co-worker, or even a friend in the IT area. Work with that person to refine your idea. Ask "can you introduce me to somebody else who might have good suggestions about this?" By talking to people you can identify a champion. You'll also find out whether something similar already exists. Hint: VPs make good champions.

Your third step, once you have a champion, is to ask for advice about how to make your project happen. Your champion may not know about the electropolitical hurdles, so you need to find someone who does.

If you get all the way through these three steps, you'll be in a position to go forward.

If you can't get through them all, don't be too disappointed. Certainly don't be annoyed. You'll still learn a lot about your organization and what it takes to do new things.

Keep in mind that selling ideas to companies is hard work and can take a long time. Don't expect people to jump on your idea immediately and help you push it through. Even your friends will need time (days or weeks) to absorb it and make it their own.

And, you will need to share the credit: certainly with your supervisor and your champion, and maybe others.

(And, please please please make sure any databases / warehouses / cubes you create are correctly secured against cybercreeps.)

  • Thank you for the helpful answer, I really appreciate it. – gary93 Jan 2 at 13:31
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This sounds like classic new person syndrome. "I'm going to change the world!"

You've mentioned a few things that give me pause:

  1. You're new to the company.

  2. You don't exactly have the required experience to do what it is that you want to do.

My advice would be to take some time to learn the company, the culture, and the existing tools before you start ruffling feathers. There's probably a great deal that you are unaware of and you most certainly lack any real insight into the internal mechanisms that make the company "go". Don't be too eager to "shake things up". That's rarely welcome from new-comers. As a first step, why don't you use the tools that are available to you and determine their effectiveness in getting the data you need for doing your job? If you find them lacking then compile a list of things you think you can do to make them better and present them to your boss. You'll need his/her buy in and approval and you'll most certainly need the cooperation of the IT department in order to get what you're proposing.

  • I understand why you would think that but I am new to the role, not the company. I understand what is needed to help the team (via observation and verbal expression of other team members including managers) and am looking to execute on it. Thank you though. – gary93 Jan 2 at 13:33
  • Ah, I shouldn't have assumed that you were new to the company. My advice then... go forward, but tread lightly and respectfully. – joeqwerty Jan 2 at 13:42

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