Introduction

The goal of this book is to guide the reader down the best path toward designing and building a successful business intelligence system and its underlying data warehouse databases using the Microsoft SQL Server product set.

The Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence System

Data warehousing and business intelligence are techniques to provide business people with the information and tools they need to make both operational and strategic business decisions. We'll break this down a bit so you can really understand the nature and magnitude of what you're about to take on.

First, your customers are the business people in the organization. Not all business people carry the same importance to you — you should be especially concerned with those who make strategic business decisions. One well-made business decision can translate to millions of dollars in many organizations. Your main customers are executives, managers, and analysts throughout the organization. The data warehouse and business intelligence (DW/BI) system is high impact and high profile.

Strategic also means important. These are decisions that can make or break the organization. Therefore, the DW/BI system is a high-risk endeavor. When strategic decisions are made, someone often wins or loses. The DW/BI system is a highly political effort.

Increasingly, the DW/BI system also supports operational decisions, especially where the decision maker needs to see historical data or integrated data from multiple sources. Many ...

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