BI – Where is the most time spent?

I was speaking with my class last evening about Business Intelligence projects. I divide BI projects into a few broad steps, regardless of the vendor for the solution at the end:


1.     Understanding the business and its data

2.     Designing the “Star” or other BI schema

3.     Extract, Transform and Load processes to move the data from 1 to step 2

4.     Designing Cubes

5.     Presentation Design


When I explained the various tools used in each area, the class naturally assumed that steps four and five are where you spend the most time. But in fact, that’s really the easiest part – the real work is in the first step, then the second, and the third. I estimate that it consumes a good 80-90% of the original design time of the solution.


Of course, once the solution is implemented, the effort moves to the last step, and most of the DBA work is still in step three. Ah, yes, the ETL process. A never-ending source of entertainment for DBA’s around the world.


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