Ralph’s first article on data warehousing appeared in 1995. During the subsequent 13 years, we’ve written hundreds of articles and Design Tips, as well as published seven books. Remarkably, the concepts that Ralph introduced in the 1990s have withstood the test of time and remain relevant today. However, some of our vocabulary has evolved slightly over the years. This […]

Many transaction processing systems consist of a transaction header “parent” with multiple line item “children.” Regardless of your industry, you can probably identify source systems in your organization with this basic structure. When it’s time to model this data for DW/BI, many designers merely reproduce these familiar operational header and line constructs in the dimensional world. In this Design […]

How do you cope with “abused users, overbooked users, comatose users, clueless users” and “know-it-all users” during the requirements-gathering stage of a data warehouse/BI project? Kimball group offers its advice for proactively working with (or around) the uncooperative, unavailable, uninsightful and irrepressible types who sometimes make it hard to know just what the business needs. […]

With their graphically appealing user interfaces, dashboards and their scorecard cousins are demo superstars. Dashboards have really grabbed the attention of senior management since they closely align with the way these people operate. What’s not to like about the promise of performance feedback on every customer or supplier facing process in the organization at a glance. It’s no […]

DW/BI professionals are often tasked with making evolutionary upgrades and improvements to minimize cost and upheaval in the current analytic environment. We explore four upgrades that can breathe new life into legacy data warehouses. Few readers have the luxury of working with a blank slate when it comes to the development of their data warehouse/business […]

Childhood guessing games sometimes rely on the distinction of “person, place or thing” for early mystery-solving clues. Some modelers use these same characterizations in their data models by creating abstract person, place and/or thing (typically referred to as product) tables. While generalized tables appeal to the purist in all of us and may provide flexibility and reusability advantages for […]

An overarching false statement about dimensional models is that they’re only appropriate for summarized information. Some people maintain that data marts with dimensional models are intended for managerial, strategic analysis and therefore should be populated with summarized data, not operational details. We strongly disagree! Dimensional models should be populated with the most detailed, atomic data captured by the source […]

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 […]

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 […]