Claus on Code

A data dudes random musings about code, bugs, products, life etc.

Introduction to Business Intelligence from a developer point of view – part 0

This is the first part of Introduction to BI.

Before I start with the actual Introduction to BI, I would like to start with an introduction of myself, to clarify what I will be focusing on in this article series.

The last couple of years I have been working with BI on the MS platform, spanning from analyzing source system, over ETL design with SSIS, designing Enterprise data warehouses and data marts, designing SQL Server analysis services cubes to developing frontends with various frontend tools.

Before I entered the world of BI, I started as software consultant developing distributed enterprise applications typically handling input from a massive amount of users and/or devices. It was the designing of the software, so that it would react in with the same speed, no matter if 1 or 1000 users accessed it on the same time that triggered me. 

I soon learned that the information created by the users was of great importance; not only to the users using the system, but also to their managers and leaders, and that we not always could provide the desired data to them. We could create hardcoded reports of the data in our software, to show the data, but there was a lot of thing we couldn’t do, like:

  • Let the user explore the data to try to find information of great importance, like comparing data from a single day, a single region, a single product, with the same thing from another region or time.
  • Using data from different system in the reports.
  • Keeping another security model in the reports than in than in the OLTP systems.
  • Keeping the responsiveness of the reports fast when the data grew to millions of records.
  • Handling history.
  • Displaying trends in the data to the users.

And I could go on about with things we couldn’t do, but I hope some of it will become clear in this article series, where I will try to explain what BI is from a technical point of view, and how a BI solution is designed.  It was the desire to handle this information as an asset, which drove me towards working with BI.

The title of the article series is: Introduction to Business Intelligence from a developer point of view. With developer I mean both a software developer, that designs traditional OLTP systems and wants to learn more about BI, and a BI developer, who might want some insight/inspiration/input about how to design a complete BI solution. 

So what articles will this article series contain, and what will they be about:

Part 0: IntroductionIntroduction to the article series (Yes, you are reading it right now)
Part 1: Defining Business IntelligenceIn this article I will define precisely what Business Intelligence is, or at least what I mean by it.
Part 2: The Enterprise Data ware houseHere I will discuss what an Enterprise Data ware house is and why or why not you will need a DWH to your BI solution. I will also describe different modeling techniques.
Part 3: The Datamart Here datamarts will be explained, and here I will also explain different modeling techniques.
Part 4: Frontend toolsThe current state of frontend tools to BI.
Part 5: BI 2.0What is BI 2.0, and is the EDW dead?

Well, that is at least what I have planned for now.  There could come more, such as for instance about handling history, different data mining techniques and maybe about the MS toolbox to building data warehouses.

I will try to keep the articles short, precise and easy and fast to read. In my every day work, I work with MS tools, so the articles will be colored by that.

That is it for now.

Acronym list
BI: Business intelligence
EDW: Enterprise data ware house
MS: Microsoft.
SSIS: SQL server integration services.
SSAS: SQL server analysis services.
ETL: Extract Transform Load.
OLTP Systems: Online transaction processing systems.

2 responses to “Introduction to Business Intelligence from a developer point of view – part 0”

  1. fin introduktion til BI, jeg har længe undret mig over hvorfor du var så betaget af emnet. Jeg er imponeret over din lyst til at beskrive BI, jeg orker som regel ikke at forklare IT emner 🙂

  2. Hehe, har det lidt på samme måde 🙂 Plejer bare at sige at jeg arbejder med IT. Men når denne introduktion engang bliver færdig, så kan jeg jo henvise til den istedet 🙂

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