With the current industry buzz focused on master data management (MDM), it’s time to revisit one of the most critical elements of the Kimball method. Back in 1999, Ralph Kimball wrote an Intelligent Enterprise column entitled The Matrix. The 1999 movie of the same name spawned two sequels, but we haven’t devoted a column to […]

I’ve fielded several questions recently regarding agile development methodologies. People seem to want a quick binary response: do we support and approve of agile methods or not? Unfortunately, our reaction is not so clearly black-and-while. One thing for certain is that the agile approach has enthusiastic supporters. Tackling the topic via a Design Tip might be akin to […]

In Design Tip # 69, Identifying Business Processes, Margy discussed the importance of recognizing your organization’s business processes and provided guidelines to spot them. We dive into more details here. Focusing on business processes is absolutely critical to successfully implement a DW/BI solution using the Kimball Method. Business processes are the fundamental building block of a dimensional data warehouse. […]

Readers who follow the Kimball approach can often recite the 4 key decisions when designing a dimensional model: identify the business process, grain, dimensions and facts. While this sounds straightforward, teams often stumble on the first step. They struggle to articulate the business process as it’s a term that seems to take on different meaning depending on the […]

Alan Alda is still widely known as “Hawkeye” Pierce from the hit television series “M*A*S*H” but he’s also the long-time host of the PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers,” in which he interviews research scientists. Discussing his 11-year hosting stint on National Public Radio recently, Alda described his approach for eliciting information from brilliant scientists. His […]

Many data warehouse teams lean heavily toward the doing side. They leap into implementation activities without spending enough time and energy to develop their data models, identify thorough business rules, or plan their data staging processes. As a result, they charge full speed ahead and end up re-working their processes, delivering bad or incomplete data, and generally causing themselves […]

How do you deal with changing dimensions? Hybrid approaches fill gaps left by the three fundamental techniques. Unlike most OLTP systems, a major objective of a data warehouse is to track history. So, accounting for change is one of the analyst’s most important responsibilities. A sales force region reassignment is a good example of a […]

Perhaps it’s just coincidental, but several people have asked a similar question recently. “Should the DW or BI team gather requirements from the business?” Honestly, this question makes the hair start to stand up on the back of my neck. I’m concerned that too many organizations have overly compartmentalized their data warehouse and business intelligence teams. Of course, […]