Description: This is a description of all of the major facets of building and implementing a data warehouse at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Saudi Arabia. The book is well written, simple to understand, and provides insight into many of the challenges that are encountered and must be addressed during a data warehouse development project.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an account of the first-hand experience of the development and implementation of a data warehouse at the hospital. It is also intended as a roadmap that other healthcare executives and/or IT managers could use as a guide during the development of a data warehouse at their institutions. This is a daunting task that involves many processes, people, resources, time, and effort with little or no guarantee for success. The book does a great job describing the tasks and difficulties encountered during development of the data warehouse at the hospital. However, It falls short of a complete roadmap by leaving out many of the details and the "how-to's" that would be necessary along the way. It does provide a guide in the sense that a project manager could take the project plan provided in the book and customize it for another data warehouse project, but it leaves out many of the details needed to fully explain the hazards that are sure to be encountered along the road.
Audience: The book is written for healthcare executives and IT managers who are contemplating or building a data warehouse, but it would be more valuable to project managers or systems architects who have been assigned to lead their first data warehouse project. The author has an extensive background in healthcare informatics and is well versed in data management practices and the steps involved in building a data warehouse.
Features: It provides extensive detail on the IT environment in place at the hospital during development of the data warehouse. The organizational structure of the IT department is even provided. It also describes many of the nontechnical activities that go into a data warehouse project such as team building and vendor management. The most valuable part of the book is the chapter on selection of key performance indicators (KPIs). The hospital data warehouse team went to great lengths to gather and define KPIs that would make the data warehouse a valuable asset for the institution. (Perhaps this was because the team was attempting to justify the development effort and resources needed to build the data warehouse since there did not seem to be a clear business justification for the project provided in the book.) The KPIs, however, are extensive in number and should be very useful for other healthcare institutions to use as references or starting points for defining the KPIs for their own data warehouse initiatives.
Assessment: Most other books on this subject do not describe data warehouse implementations so thoroughly and precisely. It would be most valuable to project managers and system architects; for others it provides little more than informative background information. There is not enough discussion about project justification and the political issues that executives would need to address in order to be considered a roadmap for that audience and there is not enough technical information for the implementation team members to use it as a guide.