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Data warehousing and business intelligence books for project managers and business analysts

In other parts of this series we have had a look at data warehousing books that cover the design and architecture of a business intelligence solution. I have also covered data warehousing books in the world of Oracle. Today we will have a look at data warehousing and business intelligence books for project management and business analysis.

The Profit Impact of Business Intelligence

By far the best book written on the subject and a must read for anyone embarking on a BI mission. In other parts of this blog I have written a comprehensive review on the book.

              
              
              
              
              
              

Agile Data Warehousing: Delivering World-Class Business Intelligence Systems Using Scrum and XP

For agile DW methodologies have a look at Agile Data Warehousing: Delivering World-Class Business Intelligence Systems Using Scrum and XP. Most if not all data warehouse practitioners agree that traditional waterfall methodologies are not very well suited to managing a DW/BI project. This book looks at how agile methodologies and scrum can be leveraged to successfully implement a data warehouse project. This book offers a detailed step by step guide at a bargain price. While you won’t take everything on board covered in this book there are some very practical pieces of advice.

              
              
              

Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App

If you are new to business intelligence then Cindi Howson’s book is for you. It covers all the relevant DW/BI aspects in an easy to read manner. Topics include: BI architectures, how to measure success, agile development, Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC), choosing a BI tool etc. This book is mainly written for business users and is relatively light on the technical side of things.

              
              
              

A Manager’s Guide to Data Warehousing

Laura Reeves’ book Data Warehouse for Project Managers is a fairly recent addition to the growing number of DW/BI books on project management. It is a very easy read particularly aimed at those of you who are tasked with setting up a data warehouse. A lot of the stuff in the book only scratches at the surface, however. What makes this book quite valuable is that it covers all aspects of the DW life cycle such as ETL, dimensional modelling, business requirements, data governance etc. from a business angle. However, a lot of areas in the book just rehash Kimball’s lifecycle book. Still a valuable book aimed at DW beginners. It can be easily read over a weekend (should you wish to do so).

              
              
              

Strategic Data Warehousing: Achieving Alignment with Business

In my opinion this book is just a rehash of what other books have covered better and in more detail. If you want to really know about achieving alignment between the data warehouse and business strategy I recommend The Profit Impact of Business Intelligence, which is truly the best book on the subject. The only two interesting chapters of the book cover two case studies on data warehousing. The first one is on Nielsen Media Research and the other one covers the data warehouse implementation at Raymond James Financial.

              
              
              

Kimball Data Warehouse Lifecycle Toolkit

This is one of the classics of course. As the title suggests it covers the full lifecycle of the data warehouse. In comparison to other books that cover the same stuff Kimball’s book is written from a more technical angle and also covers a crash course for business folks on dimensional modelling and ETL workflows. Apart from this the book covers the usual stuff on business requirements, BI tool selection etc. If you are following the Kimball methodology in your data warehouse implementation then this is a must have book.

              
              
              

Business Intelligence Roadmap: The Complete Project Lifecycle for Decision-Support Applications

This is one of the first books on project managing a data warehouse/business intelligence program. It describes the various stages of a DW/BI project such as justification, planning, business analysis, design, construction, and deployment. It covers the full data warehouse lifecycle. Very much focused on aspects of project management.

              
              
              

Other books

Data Warehouse Project Management

Impossible Data Warehouse Solutions

What I am really missing in the DW/BI literature is a book on usability aspects in the realm of Business Intelligence. This should include report and dashboard design, templates for a solid security architecture, best practices around version control and deployment, query and data governance etc.

Oracle data warehousing and business intelligence books

Today I continue in my series on Data Warehousing books. In a previous post we have had a look at data warehouse design and architecture books. We have also had a look at data warehousing and business intelligence books for project managers and business analysts. We will focus on Oracle data warehousing books this time. If you know of any other good Oralce business intelligence books that I have not listed below let me know and I will add them here. Also let me know if you diasgree with any of the evaluations of the books.

Must have

In my opinion there aren’t really any brilliant Oracle data warehousing books out there. So what I recommend first of all is to read the Oracle Database Data Warehousing Guide.

I also recommend all of Tom Kyte’s books. Even though they are not specific to Oracle data warehousing they are a must read for anyone working on the Oracle RDBMS. What I love about all of Tom’s books and articles is the scientific no nonsense approach.

For similar reasons I recommend to get your hands on anything by Cary Millsap. I really recommend Optimizing Oracle Performance if you want to understand extended trace in Oracle. It’s a bit older but brilliant. And you can get your hands on a used copy for a couple of quid.
           
         
           
         
           
         

Two other books I have come across recently and found to be quite useful are (1) Troubleshooting Oracle Performance by Christian Antognini from Swiss consulting firm Trivadis. While this does not offer many new insights into the subject it is a valuable overview and reference book. (2) Oracle Performance Survival Guide: A Systematic Approach to Database Optimization. The chapters I found particularly useful here are on minimizing contention, optimizing memory, and optimizing IO. The last one has very useful information on SSDs (in my opinion one of the emerging trends in Data Warehousing for the next decade) and Exadata.
           
         
           

Should Have

If you are implementing a data warehouse in Oracle Oracle 10g Data Warehousing will give you a good technical overview. It touches on all the relevant areas you need to take into consideration when building your data warehouse on Oracle. It will also serve you well as a refresher or lookup for individual areas.

However, don’t expect too much detail. You will need to consult other books, the Oracle documentation, and the blogosphere for advanced topics and more detail.

As a technical introduction and reference to Oracle data warehousing this book has done me a good service over the years.
           
         

The Oracle DBA Guide to Data Warehousing and Star Schemas is a bit older, but contains some useful formulas for hardware sizing of an Oracle data warehouse. Does what it says on the tin, but fairly limited in scope.
           
         
           
         
           
           
         
           

Oracle Warehouse Builder 11g: Getting Started does pretty much what it says on the tin and gives a good introduction to novices in the area of data warehousing and Oracle Warehouse Builder. So if you have never used Oracle Warehouse Builder this book is for you. If you have used OWB before you will not learn anything new here. Also this book can only be a starting point for your OWB career. A lot more OWB features than are outlined in this book need to be learned to become a master in the area (if you think about it the OWB user manual in PDF format has about 1000 pages and in some areas only scratches at the surface). Also the timing of the publication of the book is a bit unfortunate as only recently OWB 11GR2 was released with a lot of important new features and a redesigned User Interface. Hopefully there will be a 2nd edition soon that addresses this shortcoming. Mark Rittman has also a review of this book on his blog.

           
         

Oracle BI Enterprise Edition Dashboard & Report Best Practices is the only book currently out there on OBIEE. Mainly around dashboard design. I haven’t read this myself so if anyone of my readers has I would be grateful for a comment.
           
         
           
         
           
         
           
         
           

I am not too familiar with Essbase myself and have not read the following two books. But from what I hear and looking at the credentials of the authors, both books should be a good read. The first one is Oracle OLAP and Essbase and has only been published recently. The other one is The Multidimensional Modelling Toolkit. Mark Rittman has a review of this on his blog.
           
         
           
           
         
           

Could Have

I had a very disjointed reading experience with Oracle Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence Solutions. There isn’t really a central a central theme in this book. This book is a patchwork of data warehouse related stuff at a very high level. Oracle Data Warehouse Tuning for 10g really is a rehash of the Oracle Performance Tuning for 10g by the same author. The book covers mostly very basic stuff here. I found that everything you find here is better explained in the documentation.

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Data Warehousing Books: Design and architecture

In another post I have covered data warehousing books in the world of Oracle. We’ve also had a look at data warehousing and business intelligence books for project management and business analysis. Today we will look at data warehousing and business intelligence books that look at the technical design and architecture of a data warehouse solution.

Must Have

DW 2.0: The Architecture for the Next Generation of Data Warehousing: Bill Inmon revisits his data warehouse architecture. Addresses the following issues: Real-time BI, unstructured data, the enterprise data warehouse and change, the data life cycle, time variance of data. Very useful from a conceptual point of view, but not enough detail.

The Data Warehouse Toolkit- The Complete Guide to Dimensional Modelling. My first book on data warehousing. Still valuable today. Great for dimensional modelling data marts or small non-realtime Enterprise Data Warehouses based on Kimball’s conformed dimensions. It also has a good overview on industry specific data model patterns in a dimensional context. A must have.

The Data Model Resource Books Vol 1-3: The books describe fundamental data modeling patterns that can be applied and reused across the enterprise. If you are assigned the task of modelling an Enterprise Data Warehouse, these books give you great insight into best practices in data modelling. Volume 2 offers industry specific data model patterns and provides invaluable information to better understand the issues at hand in a particular industry. Personally I find it that you should actually start with volume 3 as this is the most generic of the three books. Also if you only get one of the books get volume 3.

If you have a requirement around near-real time data warehousing and operational business intelligence I recommend to look into Dan Linstedt’s data vault modelling techniques. The Business of Data Vault Modeling will get you started.

Some more recent additions to the data warehouse architecture league of books includes Building and Maintaining a Data Warehouse and Advanced Data Warehouse Design. The first of these walks us through all the technical areas of a data warehouse project: source system analysis, database design, bi reporting, data quality, metadata. In my opinion, the best chapter is on data integration and ETL. There are very few dedicated ETL books out there and this is one of the few that touches on the subject, albeit from a high level. In Advanced Data Warehouse Design the authors discuss the shortcomings of existing data warehouse implementations focusing mainly on spatial and temporal data, e.g. the shortcomings of slowly changing dimensions when capturing changes over time. They propose a truly temporal and spatial data warehouse. Examples are given in MS SQL Analysis Service (temporal) and Oracle OLAP (temporal and spatial).

To my knowledge the only book out there dedicated to the physical design of databases is Physical Database Design: the database professional’s guide to exploiting indexes, views, storage, and more. Most of the stuff covered here is for advanced users. It covers Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, and for some of the MPP stuff Teradata. Personally I found the chapter on physical design for a shared nothing architecture, and the chapter on hardware (CPU architecture, disks, server sizing etc.) the most useful.

               
               
               

Dr. Ronnie Abrahiem, Software Engineer at CIBER has recently published a book on combining SOA and data warehousing in a near-real time environment. This looks quite interesting but I haven’t read the book myself. It has the rather long title Data Warehousing with Service-oriented Architecture: Designing and Implementing Prototype Models For an Integration of Near-Real-Time Data Warehousing Architecture with Service-oriented Architecture. I am currently working on a project where we want to integrate a SOA based MDM solution with the data warehouse. The book may offer some interesting insights around this.

Should Have

If you have a lot of aggregate tables in your warehouse I recommend to have a look at Mastering Data Warehouse Aggregates for a formalised methodology and some really useful tips and tricks around an aggregate navigator.

Another recent addition to data warehouse design books is Data Warehouse Design: Modern Principles and Methodologies. Very useful chapter on ETL and quite affordable.

Could Have

Data Warehouse Design Solutions. This is useful as a second reference for industry specific dimensional models. However, it can not replace Kimball’s original book on the subject.

Clickstream Data Warehousing. If you are implementing a data warehouse for web analytics you should have a look here. However, in light of the explosion of data volumes and with Hadoop and MapReduce at hand this one is slightly obsolete.