Well, it’s certainly been an enjoyable ride. I never realised that business intelligence actually covers Sql Server Integration Services (SSIS), Sql Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Sql Server Analysis Services (SSAS). The BI practitioner needs all three to be effective. I had a lot of previous experience with DTS packages, but it has evolved considerably and is miles ahead of its predecessor. I had also done SSRS but even with significant knowledge, there’s still stuff to learn. And Analysis Services, well, the last time I touched an OLAP cube was around 1999, so it’s a life time in computer terms!
Yesterday we did a whole lot of SSRS to support Business Intelligence. I had done a lot of SSRS before, however I would never make the claim that I know everything, and so I made sure I covered all the steps in the labs, and I was glad to do so, as I did learn different ways of doing things. One of the major things I learnt here is about Report Builder, which is self-service reporting. It’s sort of like a reduced feature report designer that is targetted at Business types that don’t want to go through developers just to get reports done. That’s pretty neat, because what developer really wants to spend their life doing reports! The course also covered integrating the reports with .net applications and how to do it programmatically.
And finally today we got onto UDM (Unified Data Model), OLAP, building cubes, working with dimensions and facts, calculations, KPIs, processing and deployment. I think so far, the most enjoyable thing for me was the SSIS, because I learnt so much, and the topic that required the most concentration is most definitely the construction of the data cubes.
Half way through the course now, and it’s pretty full-on. I have to say if you’ve been around IT for a few years and know your stuff (say, intermediate level and above), and you’re looking for a challenge in an area you don’t know that much about, then BI is definitely a choice worth looking at, and an intensive course will help you hit the ground running as quickly as possible.