Project Management

How to Become a BI Jedi Knight

I have been asked numerous times by employees and peers how to become a business intelligence expert. The answer is not easy. It's not like you can pick up a "BI for Dummies" book or a "BI in 21 Days" and become an instant BI expert. BI is part art and part science, and mastering it takes constant study. I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've been to Barnes & Nobles to research BI issues or pored over the latest articles in magazines or surfed the Web for new trends in BI. It's small things; the ongoing interest in being a constant student of BI that helps turn you into an expert. To be a BI expert involves learning multiple standard application design techniques and new ones that are unique to BI alone. The following are key areas that require mastery to become a BI expert:

  • Database Design To master BI, you need to understand both normalized and denormalized techniques for modeling data. To develop an enterprise process flow upon which a BI model is developed, you can use standard third-normal form (3NF) modeling, which is used in modeling standard transactional systems. However, to optimize BI queries, you will need to build a denormalized (snowflake or star) schema to allow for maximum user flexibility. The star/snowflake schemas are unique to business intelligence and require a radically different approach to data modeling. A good start for …

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"Of course the music is a great difficulty. You see, if one plays good music, people don't listen, and if one plays bad music, people don't talk."

- Oscar Wilde

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