Early in this book, we said that the data warehouse is all about getting answers to business questions. These answers come in the form of reports. The culmination of all the work involved in designing and building the data warehouse, good reporting is imperative. Even the best schema designs cannot guarantee success if answers are not delivered.
Reports must communicate pertinent information clearly and concisely. Throughout this book, we have built models that measure business processes, and we've used them to create reports that answer business questions. In this chapter, we will look at common features that make these reports useful, generalizing them from a technical perspective.
We will explore the implications of several critical reporting elements, and show how they should be implemented by applications. We'll also look at how to choose or build a reporting tool. Support for each of the desired elements is not sufficient; the process by which the tool is used must be considered. We will see that this process varies, depending on who is using the tool.
The tools used to produce reports are known by a variety of names, based on a variety of architectures, and serving groups with diverse perspectives. The market is full of “reporting tools,” “end-user query tools,” “analysis tools,” and software classified in a number of other ways. These tools run on client workstations, or on application servers, and some deliver ...