Where does SQL belong in your BI solution?

Well, in my opinion, it definitely belongs somewhere. SQL is a powerful querying language that empowers tech-savvy users to create large data sets with just a few simple commands. Regardless of how robust your BI solution is, SQL querying will never go away. Many BI vendors’ major selling point is the simplicity of report creation through drag and drop interfaces. Users will never have to see the code being generated because of the wonderful and visually appealing user interface.

So, what if your analysts are already accustomed to accessing your data warehouse through SQL? It just isn’t feasible to expect them to drop this tool of empowerment and move straight into creating ad-hoc reports using only your new business intelligence software. It is obvious why, who doesn’t want to run a “select * “ statement occasionally? J

Herein lays the fear: What if the analysts never migrate to the new BI tools? What if interactive dashboards and web driven reports are never created? What happens if reports continue to be emailed as attachments? While these are all valid concerns, you will need to step back and gain some perspective (and patience).

As the BI Administrator you have likely had a large role in the development of the data warehouse. You are familiar with the tables, the joins, and the meaning of the data. By the time your BI solution goes live you are likely excited to see the true potential of the tools revealed, so a few days later you might ask: Where are all those pretty dashboards? What you have to realize is that you are way ahead of the pack on this one. (It’s lonely huh?)

Other analysts will need time to adjust to and experience the new organization of your company’s data. If they are used to querying through SQL then it is a great idea to set them up with access to the new data warehouse using a familiar tool. There will be some period of training where the analysts will learn the capabilities of the new BI tools and they will begin to make connections between the data and the possible displays that can be created.

Continue to be patient and you will likely see user adoption increasing, after all, the analysts are probably responsible for helping to realize that great ROI that was calculated before investing in a BI solution so they want to see it succeed  as much as you do!


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