Business Intelligence Bootcamp Part 3

We finished up the BI Bootcamp yesterday, and after five days I think I’ve done the Matrix Brainload thing, and absorbed a whole stack of information. This was definitely worth it.

I now understand the basics for constructing OLAP cubes, what kinds of queries I can make to obtain existing statistics, and also to support budgetting and forecasting. I know how to work with dimensions and facts, constructed some MDX queries, created some KPIs, and also covered performance and partitions.

I also learnt how to access the OLAP cubes from SSRS and Excel. With Excel, you link OLAP using Pivot tables, which every good financial controller knows how to do. We also used Microsoft’s ProClarity product to do advanced data analysis. The area that I was most interested in, though, was BI’s predictive ability. We were introduced to the various predictive algorithms, and did some queries that involved probabilities and confidence using the OLAP cube data.

Then we built Sharepoint Dashboards to enable us to represent the information that we built in the labs. This was great, because not only did we represent the data from the cube as figures, but also in graphical form and in a way that enabled us to visually identify the implications of what that data was telling us.

By implications, I mean that you can compare something like Sales Goals to Actuals, you could draw a bar graph in green if the goal was met, or in red if it didn’t. If it didn’t meet the goals, you were able to drill down the hierarchy to identify where something went wrong, or if someone was exceptional, drill down and see if you can identify the secret of their success! Of course, most of the graphing ability has been around for a while, but by putting it in Sharepoint, you are making it potentially accessible to a much wider audience.

We did Performance Point Scorecards, setting a whole lot of options, and were able to analyse the performance using Performance Point Server. We were able to select Analytic templates to do charting, grids, etc. We also built a Performance Point dashboard.

Finally, we did a module on planning, budgetting and forecasting. This was probably the biggest module and included the most significant lab exercise of the entire course! The outcome was that we were able to produce Sales Quota Forecasts.

The course has ended and I’m back in Melbourne. Would I do it again? I think I probably would. Peter Myers is very articulate, and explained key points well. To be able to pick up so much in such a short period of time is just so beneficial. I benefit because I now have a new set of skills for my repertoire, and businesses benefit because, with a small set of skilled people in this area, they are more likely to be able to find someone to deliver their intelligence solution! I highly recommend this course.

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