Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Drill Through

When you deploy your BI project, it is very important for the users to take a look at the sets that they specified during analysis. This kind of action is called Drill through. It will retrieve first 1000 rows by default, yet you can change this property. For do that you must change the DefaultDrillthroughMaxRows property in the msmdsrv.ini file. This file is located, by default, in the :\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\\OLAP\Config folder.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dashboard Applications and KPIs

Dashboard applications include some KPIs which help business users to notify and to understand the proper situation of business.
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator and shows the situation of business that is defined with a formula.
They are shown as graphical icons and make the recognition of the position easier.
Microsoft introduced new software which is called Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005 that can leverage the KPI capabilities of Analysis Services 2005.
Each KPI can be evaluated in five groups: Value, Goal, Status, Trend, and Weight. You can assign a MDX script to each group.

For creating new KPI you must specify the following information:
1. KPI name (is mandatory)
2. Associated measure group (is mandatory): The measure group in which your indicator is.
3. Value expression (is mandatory): The value that you want to compare with something else.
4. Goal expression: The value that you expect to reach.
5. Status: The status of your business that could be shown as one of the following figures in the Figure1.
6. Trend: The trend shows the movement of your business with graphical icons that are shown in the Figure2.
7. Additional properties: You can categorize the place in which your KPI will be shown, in this section. Moreover, you can create parent-child relationship between KPIs and assign a weight to each child KPI to calculate the parent.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Kimball method vs. Inmon method

As you know a data warehouse is a platform for business intelligence.
There are two approaches to build a data warehouse:

1. Kimball approach
In this approach, you store the data in dimensional models, it helps you to have faster, user-understandable, and resilient to change data warehouse. Also, you can use OLTP or OLAP databases as your storage.

2. Inmon approach
In this approach, you store the data in third normal form, it helps us to handle high-volume databases, yet it is not fast, user-understandable, and resilient to change. Moreover you can not use an OLAP database as your ODS storage.

The Business Intelligence Lifecycle

This lifecycle is an iterative approach and follows four primary principles:

1.Focus on the business (Inception)
In this phase, you must gather the requirements, identify the businesses which are involved in your project scope, and analyze them.

2.Build an information infrastructure (Elaboration)
In this phase, you should design an approach for gathering all the information into single, integrated, easy-to-understand, and well-structured foundation that will be covered all the requirements that you gathered before.

3.Deliver in meaningful increments (Construction)
In this phase, you will build the data warehouse in incremental steps, and deliver them in meaningful schedules.

4.Deliver the entire solution (Transition)
In this phase, you must deliver all things that you have provided before, such as reports, ad hoc queries, websites, documents, and etc.