Case Studies

It's time to Build an Enterprise Data Warehouse

Matt Brown
July 23, 2020

When it was time to build an enterprise data warehouse, the nation's premier developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities turned to Waterloo Data.

The Challenge

During the last few years our client experienced tremendous growth and was in need of developing an enterprise data warehouse to pull together data across the various silos in the organization and deliver high-value data marts for a variety of users including Account/Finance, Leasing, Acquisition, and Operations. Their existing reporting and analytical capabilities consisted of writing reports directly against transactional systems and performing manual data extracts and creating bulky Excel spreadsheets. End users were frustrated because they would get different numbers depending on who they asked, data auditing was impossible, and the existing reporting and analytics could not keep up with the speed of the business. They had purchased Cognos from IBM and had standardized on SQL Server Enterprise but lacked the senior technical expertise required to bring these tools to life.

The Solution

Waterloo Data performed an audit of the existing data and technology landscape to better understand the client environment. We then worked with the senior business and technology leaders to develop a vision and strategy for the enterprise data warehouse. At first, the team focused on creating development, staging, and production environments and ensuring that they were setup for automated, continuous deployments. The team then began ETL and database development to deliver an operational data store (ODS) and a series of interconnected data marts via conformed facts and dimensions. Working closely with client analysts and end-users, the team then developed a set of dashboards and reports to cover specific analytical objectives.

The Results

Waterloo Data designed and developed a modern enterprise data warehouse that is built on SQL Server 2016. The data warehouse was designed in a manner that allows for "zero downtime" and real-time updates. The data warehouse supports automated reporting and insights for things like Current Period/Future Period Leasing Rent Roll, Financial Forecasting, Lease-Up Visibility, Rate Setting, Supply vs. Demand at a floorplan level, Marketing insights, and high-level KPI tracking like Revenue Growth, Occupancy, etc. The resulting solution provides SOX compliance via audit-able data and processes, as well as early identification of data quality issues.

Waterloo provides expert leadership and guidance in the design and development of our Enterprise Data Warehouse. They have been very effective in working with our team and acting as a "force multiplier". Partnering with them has allowed us to accomplish what would normally take years in the span of a few quarters.Jeff Barrett, VP of Business Intelligence, American Campus Communities