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Business Intelligence For Dummies®

Book Description

You're intelligent, right? So you've already figured out that Business Intelligence can be pretty valuable in making the right decisions about your business. But you’ve heard at least a dozen definitions of what it is, and heard of at least that many BI tools. Where do you start?

Business Intelligence For Dummies makes BI understandable! It takes you step by step through the technologies and the alphabet soup, so you can choose the right technology and implement a successful BI environment. You'll see how the applications and technologies work together to access, analyze, and present data that you can use to make better decisions about your products, customers, competitors, and more.

You’ll find out how to:

  • Understand the principles and practical elements of BI

  • Determine what your business needs

  • Compare different approaches to BI

  • Build a solid BI architecture and roadmap

  • Design, develop, and deploy your BI plan

  • Relate BI to data warehousing, ERP, CRM, and e-commerce

  • Analyze emerging trends and developing BI tools to see what else may be useful

Whether you’re the business owner or the person charged with developing and implementing a BI strategy, checking out Business Intelligence For Dummies is a good business decision.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Author's Acknowledgments
  4. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. How to Use This Book
    3. How This Book Is Organized
      1. Part I: Introduction and Basics
      2. Part II: Business Intelligence User Models
      3. Part III: The BI Lifecycle
      4. Part IV: Implementing BI
      5. Part V: BI and Technology
      6. Part VI: The Part of Tens
    4. Icons Used in This Book
    5. Time to Get Down to Business ... Intelligence
  5. I. Introduction and Basics
    1. 1. Understanding Business Intelligence
      1. 1.1. Limited Resources, Limitless Decisions
      2. 1.2. Business Intelligence Defined: No CIA Experience Required
        1. 1.2.1. Pouring out the alphabet soup
        2. 1.2.2. A better definition is in sight
        3. 1.2.3. BI's Big Four
      3. 1.3. The BI Value Proposition
      4. 1.4. A Brief History of BI
        1. 1.4.1. Data collection from stone tablets to databases
      5. 1.5. BI's Split Personality: Business and Technology
        1. 1.5.1. BI: The people perspective
      6. 1.6. So, Are You BI Curious?
    2. 2. Fitting BI with Other Technology Disciplines
      1. 2.1. Best Friends for Life: BI and Data Warehousing
        1. 2.1.1. The data warehouse: no forklift required
        2. 2.1.2. Data warehouses resolve differences
        3. 2.1.3. All paths lead to the data warehouse
      2. 2.2. ERP and BI: Taking the Enterprise to Warp Speed
        1. 2.2.1. From mainframe to client/server
        2. 2.2.2. The great migration
        3. 2.2.3. Like it's 1999: the Y2K catalyst
        4. 2.2.4. Cold war reporting
        5. 2.2.5. ERP leads to the foundations of BI
      3. 2.3. Customer's Always Right
        1. 2.3.1. CRM joins ERP
        2. 2.3.2. Core CRM
        3. 2.3.3. Customer decisions
      4. 2.4. BI-BUY! E-Commerce Takes BI Online
        1. 2.4.1. E-commerce's early days (daze?)
        2. 2.4.2. E-commerce gets smart
        3. 2.4.3. Real-time business intelligence
      5. 2.5. The Finance Function and BI
    3. 3. Meeting the BI Challenge
      1. 3.1. What's Your Problem?
        1. 3.1.1. What can go wrong
      2. 3.2. The BI Spectrum—Where Do You Want It?
        1. 3.2.1. Enterprise versus departmental BI
      3. 3.3. Strategic versus tactical business intelligence
        1. 3.3.1. Power versus usability in BI tools
        2. 3.3.2. Reporting versus predictive analytics
        3. 3.3.3. BI that's juuuuust right
      4. 3.4. First Glance at Best (and Worst) Practices
        1. 3.4.1. Why BI is as much an art as a science
        2. 3.4.2. Avoiding all-too-common BI traps
        3. 3.4.3. One more continuum: hope versus hype
  6. II. Business Intelligence User Models
    1. 4. Basic Reporting and Querying
      1. 4.1. Power to the People!
        1. 4.1.1. Querying and reporting in context
        2. 4.1.2. Reporting and querying puts BI over the hump
        3. 4.1.3. Reporting and querying toolkit characteristics
        4. 4.1.4. So who's using this stuff?
      2. 4.2. Basic BI: Self-Service Reporting and Querying
        1. 4.2.1. Building and using ad-hoc queries
        2. 4.2.2. Building simple on-demand self-service reports
        3. 4.2.3. Adding capabilities through managed querying/reporting
      3. 4.3. Data Access—BI's Push-Pull Tug-of-War
        1. 4.3.1. Classical BI: pull-oriented information access
        2. 4.3.2. Emerging BI: pushing critical insights to users
    2. 5. OLAP: Online Analytical Processing
      1. 5.1. OLAP in Context
      2. 5.2. OLAP Application Functionality
      3. 5.3. Multidimensional Analysis
        1. 5.3.1. Lonely numbers
        2. 5.3.2. One-dimensional data
        3. 5.3.3. Setting the table
        4. 5.3.4. Seeing in 3-D
        5. 5.3.5. Beyond the third dimension
      4. 5.4. OLAP Architecture
        1. 5.4.1. The OLAP Cube
        2. 5.4.2. OLAP access tools
      5. 5.5. What OLAP Can Really Do
        1. 5.5.1. Members only
        2. 5.5.2. Remember the Big Four BI criteria
      6. 5.6. Drill team: Working with Multidimensional Data
        1. 5.6.1. Gaining insight through drill-down analysis
        2. 5.6.2. Going in the other direction: drill-up analysis
        3. 5.6.3. Getting to the source: drill-through
      7. 5.7. OLAP versus OLTP
      8. 5.8. Looking at Different OLAP Styles and Architecture
        1. 5.8.1. MOLAP: multidimensional OLAP
        2. 5.8.2. ROLAP: relational OLAP through "normal" databases
        3. 5.8.3. HOLAP: Can't we all get along?
    3. 6. Dashboards and Briefing Books
      1. 6.1. Dashboards' Origins
        1. 6.1.1. EIS: information gold for the top brass
        2. 6.1.2. EIS: Everybody's Information System
        3. 6.1.3. EIS gets left behind
      2. 6.2. The Metric System
        1. 6.2.1. Defining KPIs
        2. 6.2.2. Business KPIs
      3. 6.3. Looking at BI Dashboards
        1. 6.3.1. Mission control to the desktop
        2. 6.3.2. Dashboard best practices
      4. 6.4. Briefing Books and Other Gadgetry
    4. 7. Advanced / Emerging BI Technologies
      1. 7.1. Catching a Glimpse of Visualization
        1. 7.1.1. Basic visualization
        2. 7.1.2. Worth a thousand words
        3. 7.1.3. Off the charts
        4. 7.1.4. Visualizing tomorrow
      2. 7.2. Steering the Way with Guided Analysis
        1. 7.2.1. Dancing the BI two-step
        2. 7.2.2. Old idea, new moves
        3. 7.2.3. Guiding lights
      3. 7.3. Data Mining: Hype or Reality?
        1. 7.3.1. Digging through data mining's past
        2. 7.3.2. Digging for data gold
        3. 7.3.3. Data mining today
      4. 7.4. Other Trends in BI
        1. 7.4.1. BI for one and all
        2. 7.4.2. Unstructured data
  7. III. The BI Lifecycle
    1. 8. The BI Big Picture
      1. 8.1. So Many Methodologies, So Little Time
      2. 8.2. Starting at the beginning
        1. 8.2.1. The exception to the rule: Micro-BI
      3. 8.3. Customizing BI for Your Needs
        1. 8.3.1. Your not-so-clean slate
        2. 8.3.2. Initial activities
        3. 8.3.3. Could-be versus should-be alternatives
        4. 8.3.4. Selecting BI products and technologies
      4. 8.4. Implementing BI: Get 'er Done
        1. 8.4.1. Zeroing in on a technical design
        2. 8.4.2. Putting together the BI project plan
        3. 8.4.3. Finishing the job
    2. 9. Human Factors in BI Implementations
      1. 9.1. Star Techie: Skills Profile of a Core BI Team
        1. 9.1.1. Key performers
        2. 9.1.2. Your other techies
      2. 9.2. Overruling Objections from the Court of User Opinion
        1. 9.2.1. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
        2. 9.2.2. Turn and face the strange
      3. 9.3. Major in Competence
        1. 9.3.1. Find your center
        2. 9.3.2. A BI center that's juuuuust right
        3. 9.3.3. Raising standards
    3. 10. Taking a Closer Look at BI Strategy
      1. 10.1. The Big Picture
      2. 10.2. Your Current BI Capabilities (or Lack Thereof)
        1. 10.2.1. Assessing your business infrastructure
        2. 10.2.2. Assessing the technology stack, top to bottom
        3. 10.2.3. Keep the good stuff
        4. 10.2.4. Throw out the bad stuff
      3. 10.3. Exploring "Should-Be" BI Alternatives
        1. 10.3.1. Utopian BI
        2. 10.3.2. Coming back to reality: examining barriers to achieving your desired future state
      4. 10.4. Deciding "Could-Be" Alternatives
        1. 10.4.1. Judging viability
        2. 10.4.2. Identifying risks ... and also how to mitigate those risks
        3. 10.4.3. Gauging business value
        4. 10.4.4. Aligning your alternatives with your organizational structure and culture
      5. 10.5. Making Your Choice
        1. 10.5.1. Considering everything
        2. 10.5.2. Deciding on your strategy
        3. 10.5.3. Getting the necessary buy-in
    4. 11. Building a Solid BI Architecture and Roadmap
      1. 11.1. What a Roadmap Is (and Isn't)
      2. 11.2. Centralized Versus Decentralized Architecture
        1. 11.2.1. A couple question
        2. 11.2.2. How to choose
      3. 11.3. BI Architecture Alternatives
        1. 11.3.1. Starting an architecture evaluation
        2. 11.3.2. So many choices
        3. 11.3.3. So little time
        4. 11.3.4. The short list
        5. 11.3.5. Taking a second look at your short list
        6. 11.3.6. Examining costs for each alternative
        7. 11.3.7. Looking at technology risks
        8. 11.3.8. Making your decision
      4. 11.4. Developing a Phased, Incremental BI Roadmap
        1. 11.4.1. Deciding where to start
        2. 11.4.2. Keeping score
        3. 11.4.3. Deciding what comes next
        4. 11.4.4. Deciding what comes next, and next, and next...
        5. 11.4.5. Planning for contingencies
        6. 11.4.6. Dealing with moving targets
        7. 11.4.7. Leaving time for periodic "architectural tune-ups"
  8. IV. Implementing BI
    1. 12. Building the BI Project Plan
      1. 12.1. Planning the Plan
        1. 12.1.1. Revisiting the vision
        2. 12.1.2. Project plan format
      2. 12.2. Project Resources
        1. 12.2.1. BI project roles
      3. 12.3. Project Tasks
        1. 12.3.1. First pass: Project milestones
        2. 12.3.2. Second pass: High-level tasks
        3. 12.3.3. Linkages and constraints
        4. 12.3.4. Third pass: Break it down
        5. 12.3.5. Roles and skills
      4. 12.4. Risk Management and Mitigation
        1. 12.4.1. Contingency planning
        2. 12.4.2. Checkpoints
      5. 12.5. Keeping Your BI Project Plan Up to Date
        1. 12.5.1. Managing to the plan
        2. 12.5.2. Working through issues
        3. 12.5.3. Daily updates
        4. 12.5.4. Keeping task data up-to-date
      6. 12.6. Back to the OI' Drawing Board
    2. 13. Collecting User Requirements
      1. 13.1. It's Business, Not Technical
        1. 13.1.1. Documenting business requirements
        2. 13.1.2. Document size and structure
        3. 13.1.3. A little help from your friends (and enemies)
      2. 13.2. Requirements-Gathering Techniques
        1. 13.2.1. The data difference
        2. 13.2.2. User focus
        3. 13.2.3. Requirements-gathering activities
      3. 13.3. What, Exactly, Is a Requirement?
        1. 13.3.1. Reporting and analytical functionality
        2. 13.3.2. Data needed to support your desired functionality
        3. 13.3.3. Matchup maker
        4. 13.3.4. The "look and feel" for how information should be delivered to users
      4. 13.4. Validating BI Requirements You've Collected
        1. 13.4.1. Conducting the initial double-checking
      5. 13.5. Prioritizing Your BI Requirements
        1. 13.5.1. Identifying "must-have-or-else" requirements
        2. 13.5.2. Getting the final buy-in
        3. 13.5.3. Stepping on the baseline
      6. 13.6. Changing Requirements
    3. 14. BI Design and Development
      1. 14.1. Successful BI
        1. 14.1.1. Be realistic
        2. 14.1.2. Follow demand
        3. 14.1.3. Act now, but think ahead
      2. 14.2. Design with Users in Mind
        1. 14.2.1. Power users
        2. 14.2.2. Business users
        3. 14.2.3. The middle class
      3. 14.3. Best Practices for BI Design
        1. 14.3.1. Designing the data environment
        2. 14.3.2. Designing the front-end environment
      4. 14.4. Getting Users On Board
        1. 14.4.1. Reporting review
        2. 14.4.2. Testing, 1-2-3...
        3. 14.4.3. Pilot projects
        4. 14.4.4. Proof of concept
    4. 15. The Day After: Maintenance and Enhancement
      1. 15.1. BI = Constant Improvement
      2. 15.2. Post-Implementation Evaluations
        1. 15.2.1. Overall project review
        2. 15.2.2. Technology review
        3. 15.2.3. Business-impact review
      3. 15.3. Maintaining Your BI Environment
        1. 15.3.1. System health
        2. 15.3.2. System relevance—Keeping up with business changes
      4. 15.4. Maintaining lines of communication
      5. 15.5. Extending Your Capabilities
        1. 15.5.1. Expanding existing applications
        2. 15.5.2. Installing advanced upgrades
      6. 15.6. The Olympic Approach
        1. 15.6.1. Thinking long term with a roadmap
        2. 15.6.2. Evolvability
  9. V. BI and Technology
    1. 16. BI Target Databases: Data Warehouses, Marts, and Stores
      1. 16.1. Data Warehouses and BI
        1. 16.1.1. An extended example
        2. 16.1.2. Consolidating information across silos
        3. 16.1.3. Structuring data to enable BI
      2. 16.2. Data Models
        1. 16.2.1. Dimensional data model
        2. 16.2.2. Other kinds of data models
      3. 16.3. Data Marts
      4. 16.4. Operational Data Stores
    2. 17. BI Products and Vendors
      1. 17.1. Overview of BI Software
        1. 17.1.1. The dimensional model
        2. 17.1.2. Working together
      2. 17.2. The BI Software Marketplace
        1. 17.2.1. A little history
        2. 17.2.2. Mergers and acquisitions
      3. 17.3. Major Software Companies in BI
        1. 17.3.1. Oracle
        2. 17.3.2. Microsoft
        3. 17.3.3. SAP
        4. 17.3.4. IBM
      4. 17.4. Pure-Play BI Vendors
        1. 17.4.1. Indispensable qualities
        2. 17.4.2. Vendors by strong suit
        3. 17.4.3. The sales pitch
  10. VI. The Part of Tens
    1. 18. Ten Keys to BI Success
      1. 18.1. Picking Good Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
      2. 18.2. Adjusting the Recipe
      3. 18.3. Coming to Terms with Complexity
      4. 18.4. Thinking (and Working) Outside the Box
      5. 18.5. Picking a Winning Team
      6. 18.6. Doing Your Homework
      7. 18.7. Remembrance of Things Past (Especially Mistakes)
      8. 18.8. Considering Corporate Culture Completely
      9. 18.9. Just Going Through a Phase
      10. 18.10. Adopting a Bigwig
    2. 19. Ten BI Risks (and How to Overcome Them)
      1. 19.1. Resistance Movement
      2. 19.2. Moving Targets
      3. 19.3. Tool Letdown
      4. 19.4. Being a User Loser
      5. 19.5. Mister Data Needs a Bath
      6. 19.6. Dough a No-Go?
      7. 19.7. Scope Creep
      8. 19.8. Rigidity
      9. 19.9. Environmental Crisis
    3. 20. Ten Keys to Gathering Good BI Requirements
      1. 20.1. All the Right People
      2. 20.2. The Vision Thing
      3. 20.3. Connecting BI to the Business Themes
      4. 20.4. Make Sure the Insights Are Within Sight
      5. 20.5. Greatest Hits from Yesterday and Today
      6. 20.6. Consequences of Going Without
      7. 20.7. What's the Big Idea?
      8. 20.8. Going Straight to the Source
      9. 20.9. Adjunct Benefits
      10. 20.10. What's First and Why
    4. 21. Ten Secrets to a Successful BI Deployment
      1. 21.1. Start Early!
      2. 21.2. Get What You Paid For
      3. 21.3. Only Losers Ignore Users
      4. 21.4. Name-Dropping
      5. 21.5. Testing 1-2-3...4-5-6...and So On
      6. 21.6. Go to Battle from a War Room
      7. 21.7. Project Management Management
      8. 21.8. Deal with Any Foot-dragging Immediately!
      9. 21.9. Prove That Concept!
      10. 21.10. The Devil Is in the Details
      11. 21.11. We've Got a Live One
    5. 22. Ten Secrets to a Healthy BI Environment
      1. 22.1. Data TLC
      2. 22.2. Hitting Budget Targets
      3. 22.3. Hitting Schedule Targets
      4. 22.4. Rinse and Repeat
      5. 22.5. Rinse and Don't Repeat
      6. 22.6. Maintain Team Knowledge
      7. 22.7. Remember What You Forgot the First Time
      8. 22.8. Regular Updates
      9. 22.9. Staying in Touch and in Tune
      10. 22.10. Communicating Changes
      11. 22.11. Stay on the Train
      12. 22.12. Maintenance as a Process
    6. 23. Ten Signs That Your BI Environment Is at Risk
      1. 23.1. The Spreadsheets Just Won't Die
      2. 23.2. Everybody Asks for Help
      3. 23.3. Nobody Asks for Help
      4. 23.4. Water-Cooler Grumbles About Usability
      5. 23.5. Good-Old-Day Syndrome
      6. 23.6. Usage Numbers Decline Over Time
      7. 23.7. BI Tools Aren't Part of Strategy Discussions
      8. 23.8. Executive Sponsors Lose Enthusiasm
      9. 23.9. Executive Sponsors Lose their Jobs
      10. 23.10. Resistance to Upgrades and Expansion