During the late 90's, the strategic planners at an African university decided to improve access to information.
So they created a data warehouse.
At the time, financials and payroll were delivered by an aging mainframe based GL system. At month-end, we'd receive piles of paper containing various reports. Two of us would go through them, manually separate, place in envelopes, label the envelopes and send them off via internal mail. This took 2-3 days. It was painful.
The team chose the tech, created the data extracts, built the models and trained a range of users. It took a few months to build the reports - we had to painstakingly replicate the exact format that people were used to. It was worth it. Within weeks of the reports being made available, reporting had shifted - from paper based, once a month, to electronic, on-demand. A significantly better solution.
And the self-service solution freed us up - the humans that were originally involved in manual report distribution now had time to focus on higher value activity.
Today, it is interesting to see the same, waterfall style, large data warehouse projects being established.
Many fail to deliver positive ROI and some fail completely.
As an auditor, you may be involved in such a project - ideally at inception.
If you see a project like this, ask whether it is necessary to embark on a large project for this purpose.
For some industries e.g.,financial services, the level of complexity and the compliance expectations may mean that a larger project is required. However, a different approach (e.g. agile) is still valuable.