New book: Smart Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2008


Greetings, all. Here’s a new book that shipped to the printer in early January (online retailer availability date = February 4, although you can pre-order it now, and ISBN = 9780735625808): Smart Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2008, by Lynn Langit.


Smart Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2008


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


And here’s Donald Farmer’s Foreword, which includes a description of the book:


 


Foreword


When Lynn Langit’s name appears in my inbox or RSS feeds, I never know what to expect—


only that it will be interesting! She may be inviting me to share a technical webcast, passing


pithy comments about a conference speaker, or recalling the sight of swimming elephants


in Zambia, where Lynn tirelessly promotes information technology as a force for improving


health care. On this occasion, it was an invitation to write a foreword for this, her latest book,


Smart Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2008. As so often, when Lynn


asks, the only possible response is, “Of course—I’d be happy to!”


 


When it comes to business intelligence, Lynn is a compulsive communicator. As a Developer


Evangelist at Microsoft, this is part of her job, but Lynn’s enthusiasm for the technologies and


their implications goes way beyond that. Her commitment is clear in her presentations and


webcasts, in her personal engagements with customers across continents, and in her writing.


Thinking of this, I am more than pleased to see this new book, especially to see that it tackles


the SQL Server business intelligence (BI) technologies in their broad scope.


 


Business intelligence is never about one technology solving one problem. In fact, a good BI


solution can address many problems at many levels—tactical, strategic, and even operational.


Part I, “Business Intelligence for Business Decision Makers and Architects,” explores these


business scenarios.


 


To solve these problems, you will find that your raw data is rarely sufficient. The BI developer


must apply business logic to enrich the data with analytical insights for business users.


Without this additional business logic, your system may only tell the users what they already


know. Part II, “Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services for Developers,” takes a deep look


at using Analysis Services to create OLAP cubes and data mining models.


 


By their nature, these problems often require you to integrate data from across your business.


SQL Server 2008 Integration Services is the platform for this work, and in Part III,


“Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services for Developers,” Lynn tackles this technology.


She not only covers the details of building single workloads, but also sets this work in its


important architectural context, covering management and deployment of the integration


solutions.


 


Finally, in Part IV, “Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and Other Client Interfaces for


Business Intelligence,” there is a detailed exploration of the options for designing and publishing


reports. This section also covers other popular “clients”—the applications through


which business users interact with your BI solution. So, even if you are a Microsoft Office


Excel user, there is valuable information here.


 


When all of these elements—integration, analysis, and reporting—come together, you know


you are implementing a “smart solution,” the essence of this most helpful book.


 


I know from my own work at Microsoft, presenting and writing about BI, how difficult it is to


find good symmetry between technology and the business case. I also know how important


it is. Architects may build smart technology solutions, but enterprise decision makers put the


business into BI. For these readers, Lynn makes very few assumptions. She quickly, yet quite


thoroughly, takes the reader through a basic taxonomy of the moving parts of a BI solution.


 


However, this book is more than a basic introduction—it gets down to the details you


need to build effective solutions. Even experienced users will find useful insights and information


here. For example, all OLAP developers work with Analysis Services data source


views. However, many of them do not even know about the useful data preview feature. In


Chapter 7, “Designing OLAP Cubes Using BIDS,” Lynn not only describes the feature, but also


includes a good example of its use for simple validation and profiling. It is, for me, a good


measure of a book that it finds new things to say even about the most familiar features.


 


For scenarios that may be less familiar to you, such as data mining, Lynn carefully sets out the


business cases, the practical steps to take, and the traps to avoid. Having spent many hours


teaching and evangelizing about data mining myself, I really admire how Lynn navigates


through the subject. In one chapter, she starts from the highest level (“Why would I use data


mining?”) to the most detailed (“What is the CLUSTERING_METHOD parameter for?”), retaining


a pleasant and easy logical flow.


 


It is a privilege to work at Microsoft with Lynn. She clearly loves working with her customers


and the community. This book captures much of her enthusiasm and knowledge in print. You


will enjoy it, and I will not be surprised if you keep it close at hand on your desk whenever


you work with SQL Server 2008.


 


Donald Farmer


Principal Program Manager, US-SQL Analysis Services


Microsoft Corporation


 


 


This is Lynn’s blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/socaldevgal/default.aspx. And here’s Donald’s: http://www.beyeblogs.com/donaldfarmer/.


More on other new books soon!