Introduction

Roadmaps: The Lifecycle and how this Book is Organized.

This book describes how to build a successful business intelligence system and its underlying data warehouse databases using the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 product set. The key word here is "successful."

The Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence System

Data warehousing and business intelligence are fundamentally about providing 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. But not all business people carry the same importance to you—you're especially concerned with those who make strategic business decisions. Why? Because this is where the big money is. 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. Therefore, 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. Therefore the DW/BI system is a highly political effort.

Increasingly, the DW/BI system supports operational decisions, especially ...

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