Recently, I received an email as part of a listserv from a colleague at HEDW.org. HEDW, or Higher Education Data Warehousing Forum, is a network of higher education colleagues dedicated to promoting the sharing of knowledge and best practices regarding knowledge management in colleges and universities, including building data warehouses, developing institutional reporting strategies, and providing decision support.
In the email that I referenced above, my colleague sent a link to an IBM Redbooks publication titled, “Dimensional Modeling: In a Business Intelligence Environment.” This is a good read for someone that wants the basics of data warehousing. It also may be a good refresher for others. Here’s a short description of the book:
In this IBM Redbooks publication we describe and demonstrate dimensional data modeling techniques and technology, specifically focused on business intelligence and data warehousing. It is to help the reader understand how to design, maintain, and use a dimensional model for data warehousing that can provide the data access and performance required for business intelligence.
Business intelligence is comprised of a data warehousing infrastructure, and a query, analysis, and reporting environment. Here we focus on the data warehousing infrastructure. But only a specific element of it, the data model – which we consider the base building block of the data warehouse. Or, more precisely, the topic of data modeling and its impact on the business and business applications. The objective is not to provide a treatise on dimensional modeling techniques, but to focus at a more practical level.
There is technical content for designing and maintaining such an environment, but also business content.
In reading through a few responses on the listserv, it compelled me to produce a list of some of my favorite BI books. I’ll publish a part II to this post in the future, but here is an initial list that I would recommend to any BI professional. It is also worth signing up for the Kimball Group’s Design Tips. They are tremendously useful.
- Dimensional Modeling: In a Business Intelligence Environment (an IBM Redbooks publication by Chuck Ballard, Daniel M. Farrell, Amit Gupta, Carlos Mazuela, and Stanislav Vohnik)
- The Data Warehouse Toolkit (by Ralph Kimball and Margy Ross)
- The Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit (by Joy Munde and Warren Thornthwaite with Ralph Kimball)
- The Data Warehouse ETL Toolkit (by Ralph Kimball and Joe Caserta)
- Kimball Group: Design Tips