Unless you live under a rock, you already know that Microsoft is pushing SQL Server 7.0 as THE platform for data warehousing and business intelligence. Microsoft dreams of capturing the enterprise data warehouse inside your data center. The Bill G. juggernaut also intends to bring OLAP and business intelligence to the masses by turning Office 2000 into a powerful, easy-to-use tool for knowledge management and data analysis. Lofty goals? Absolutely, and Microsoft can't reach them unless the company can evangelize both its channel partners and corporate America. Different levels of business and technical training are necessary, but people first need to understand why business intelligence matters in the first place.
You can't pick up a computer magazine these days without seeing references to business intelligence, data warehousing, decision support, and the many other buzzwords du jour. But do you really understand what the fuss is about? Can you present a compelling business argument to your boss about how a data warehouse will help your business? Can you explain how SQL Server 7.0 might be a cost-effective decision support platform? Can you articulate some of the major technical hurdles you'll face?
Check out Microsoft's new Getting Results series (http://www.microsoft.com/ sql/gettingresults) if business intelligence is in your future and you're new to the field. You'll find business intelligence streaming video presentations covering:
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
- Building a Data Warehouse
- Finding Answers Fast: OLAP
- Easy Access and Analysis
- Data About Your Data
- Internet Business Intelligence
Click the Key Info link, and you'll find great supporting information and URLs for each of the presentation topics. These presentations aren’t your typical boring geek talk with a single speaker walking through PowerPoint slides showing an occasional demo or screen shot. Microsoft had fun with this one--producing a video series that feels more like a late night talk show. I usually hate watching video on my laptop, but this material was interesting and entertaining. More importantly, it will help business intelligence novices understand what all the fuss is about.
Do you want to learn more, but don't want pure Microsoft evangelism? Here are a few of my favorite sites devoted to data warehousing and business intelligence. Enjoy!
In fact, here's some interesting OLAP news running on the OLAPREPORT site right now (http://www.olapreport.com/new.htm#Oracle).
"Oracle has abandoned the embarrassingly-overdue Walden project that was meant to make Express Objects Web-deployable using Java; the intention is to replace it with a future (and incompatible) Java Beans project. This leaves the many major Express Objects sites without a clear upgrade path. Oracle has also eliminated the dedicated North American business intelligence field sales and marketing groups (many of whom have moved to competitor companies), and the now-fragmented Express development is managed at a more junior level than ever before. Although Express development continues, with increased headcount, this apparent sharp reduction of OLAP and business intelligence sales focus (which is denied by Oracle) is likely to further damage Oracle Express' already sliding sales, and ultimately, Oracle's investment in the product."