Margy Ross and Bob Becker wrote the following articles and Kimball Design Tips. Additional Design Tips written by our Kimball Group colleagues are available on the Kimball Group website; the complete library of Kimball Group articles and Design Tips is available in the latest Kimball Group Reader, Second Edition – Remastered Collection (Kimball/Ross, Wiley 2016).

Delivering consistent data is like reaching the top of Mount Everest for most data warehouse initiatives, and data stewards are the climbers who fearlessly strive toward that goal. Achieving data consistency is a critical objective for most DW/BI programs. Establishing responsibility for data quality and integrity can be extremely difficult in many organizations. Most operational systems effectively capture key […]

Through our education and consulting practices, the Kimball Group has been exposed to hundreds of successful data warehouses. Careful study of these successes has revealed a set of extract, transformation, and load (ETL) best practices. We first described these best practices in an Intelligent Enterprise column three years ago. Since then we have continued to […]

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 […]

Conformed dimensions are the glue that ties together your enterprise data warehouse. To facilitate and manage the conforming process, we have identified two additional fundamental responsibilities for the DW/BI team: the dimension manager and fact provider. Typically these functions are performed by the ETL team working closely with the data stewardship organization. The dimension manager is a centralized […]

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. […]

Best practices are precision tools that should be wielded precisely and skillfully. This article describes five best practices drawn from the Kimball Method that often are described incorrectly. Data warehousing is a mature discipline with well-established best practices. But these best practices are useless or even harmful if they are described inaccurately or incompletely. One […]

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 […]

Meaningless integer keys, otherwise known as surrogate keys, are commonly used as primary keys for dimension tables in data warehouse designs. Our students frequently ask us – what about fact tables? Should a unique surrogate key be assigned for every row in a fact table? Although for the logical design of a fact table, the answer is no, […]