Derek Comingore Blog

Derek Comingore's Microsoft Business Intelligence Blog

The Business Behind BI

Hope everyone is doing well out there. A good friend of mine across the pond mentioned that he has started to read a lot of my content across the blogs, my SQL Magazine Articles/BI Column, etc. His feedback was excellent and relates to a general perception issue with the field of BI. "They are highly technology based" was his comment in so many words...

First a few clarifications are in order, writing for SQL Magazine means you will be discussing the actual data platform called SQL Server at some length. This blog and other places though I could write more BI neurtral content. And thus I have created a new post category called "Business Intelligence Nuggets" (which this post is the first in).

The perception issue is that Business Intelligence is all about technology! Business Intelligence is 100% about business, THE TOOLS ARE SIMPLY ENABLERS. A well thought out dimensional model will work well on any database platform. A solid ETL design will run great on any ETL platform it is implemented in. The larger point is, a great BI architect will be good  (and thus his designs) on any platform or toolset.

There are layers to any BI solution nomatter how or what it is constructed of. First is the Business and it's logic/requirements. Second, is design and methodologies...the words Kimball & Inmon come to mind. Third, are the my case SQL Server, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, and Integration Services.

Tools (SQL Server etc.)

Design (Design Patterns, Best Practices, & Methodologies)

Business Requirements (What needs to be measured?)

Legacy Comments

re: The Business Behind BI
Though not a comment, Have a question, may be a very basic one, BI is different from Data Warehousing or DW is part of BI's bigger picture.

For starters, I have worked with DTS, SSIS, Mercator etc., For some one like me to get into this area, can you suggest a learning path.


Derek Comingore
re: The Business Behind BI
Hi Karuna,

Data Warehousing (DW) is a common implementation to support BI initiatives, thus you are correct in saying "DW is PART of BI". BI is an umbrella term which can refer to a fairly large amount of various technologies, processes, and tools which all support improved organizational decision making capabilities.

Derek Comingore
re: The Business Behind BI

Your BI learning path question is a bit more complicated. What are your goals? If you wish to become proficient in the Microsoft BI suite of tools I suggest you learn the following in order written:

Base Topics (vendor neutral too)
Learn Dimensional Modeling Basics
Learn ETL Basics
Learn OLAP Basics

Methodology Topics (, again vendor neutral)

Microsoft BI tools:
SQL Server (IS/RS/AS)

re: The Business Behind BI
Thanks for the insight.
I think the following link is worth to read for any one who wants to start with BI