Chapter 8. Business Intelligence Applications

We're from the Data Warehouse, and we're here to help

We have struggled since the early 1980s with the belief that business people should be responsible for creating their own reports and analyses. In our view, they should be eager to dive in and explore the data that represents their business. After all, who knows better than the business person what information is needed and how the analysis should be created?

The problem with this belief is that most business people do not seem to agree. In fact, based on our experience, you will be lucky to get 10 percent of your user base to actually build their own reports from scratch. We suspect this is because learning the tools and learning the data is just too far outside the comfort zone of most business people. As part of the 10 percent, it's hard for us to understand this, but we have come to accept it.

A critical part of every DW/BI project is providing the other 90 percent of the user community with a more structured, and therefore easier, way to access the data warehouse. We provide this structured access through what we call business intelligence (BI) applications. This chapter describes the concept of BI applications along with a process for creating these applications in the context of the overall Lifecycle. (The next chapter gives an example of building a simple BI application using Reporting Services and other Microsoft tools.) Bottom line, we need to support as many users as ...

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