RFP Checklist | Data warehouses

Ask yourself the following questions when creating and evaluating proposals
for a data warehouse. In drafting an RFP, review format and content rules to
ensure they are vendor-neutral. Unless it's absolutely critical to have a function
that a single vendor supports, word your requirement in a way that encourages
vendors to come up with competing solutions.


  • What current databases will the
    warehouse pull data from? Are they
    all under your control, or do some
    of them belong to other agencies?

  • Who will define the structure of the
    warehouse, initially and in the future?

  • Will there be data marts in addition to the central warehouse?

  • How large does the database scale?
    Is this adequate for your organization's
    current and future needs?

  • What operating systems does the
    database require? Does the organization
    currently support these
    OSes, or will it need to add additional
    skill sets?

  • What hardware does the database
    run on? What will the initial hardware
    purchase costs and ongoing
    support costs be?

  • What level of customization is needed?
    Does the database support the
    organization's existing stored procedures
    or user-defined functions?
    Does it support any unusual data
    types used by the organization?

  • Does the database provide ANSI
    standard SQL support?

  • Is the database open source or
    proprietary?

  • What security features does the
    database offer? Does it include
    data encryption? Does it offer
    record level access control? Does it
    have a built-in audit trail that can
    track which system user made
    what change at what time, and indicate
    old and new data values?

  • Does the system have a hierarchical
    permission structure to limit
    who can make changes? Will the
    public have access to the database
    over the Internet, or is it restricted
    to internal users?

  • What legacy or other systems must
    it interact with? Does the data
    need ETL functionality to move it
    to the data warehouse, or will it be
    populated with fresh data? Who
    handles ETL work or data entry,
    the agency or the contractor?

  • Will the data warehouse be mirrored
    or backed up in any particular
    way? How long does it take to
    restore the warehouse? Will it be
    stored in a single or multiple locations?
    How will data be updated?

  • What reports are needed, in what
    format (XL, Word, HTML)? Who
    creates them? Are the reports to be
    standardized, ad hoc or both?

  • How is the database licensed?
    By number of processors, users,
    size of data store?

  • What is the deployment deadline?
    Can the vendor meet that deadline?
    Will it be a phased deployment?

  • Does the contractor need a certain
    level of security clearance? What
    levels of certification and accreditation
    are needed? Is knowledge of
    or experience in any specific field
    needed or useful to the contractor?

  • How will the consultant turn running
    the data warehouse over to internal
    staff after deployment?
    What type of documentation and
    training are required? What type of
    ongoing support?

  • How easy is it to get support personnel/
    third-party software for
    the DBMS and hardware in your
    area?

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