Intelligent Enterprise Top Stories of 2009

By Doug Henschen, Intelligent Enterprise

Intelligent Enterprise’s ten most-popular articles of the year delivered helpful advice, forward-looking insight and deep analysis. Plus, the list of popular ‘evergreen’ gems offering timeless insight.

Shelf life. That’s what separates many Intelligent Enterprise articles from transient news coverage that holds momentary interest today but that quickly loses relevance. Popularity on Intelligent Enterprise also has little to do with iPhone, Web search engine wars or which celebrity topic caused Web site crashes. That qualifies as tech coverage to some, but Intelligent Enterprise readers want helpful advice, forward-looking insight and deep analysis of trends shaping enterprise-level information management, business intelligence, application and business-process challenges.

As in years past, readers were drawn to this site by top-notch content from industry-expert contributors including Kimball Group, David Stodder, Seth Grimes and Cindi Howson. Read on to uncover the must-read articles you may have missed.

Top-Ten Intelligent Enterprise Articles Published in 2009

1. The 10 Essential Rules of Dimensional Modeling. Follow the rules to ensure granular data, flexibility and a future-proofed data warehouse. Break the rules and you’ll confuse users and run into brick walls. Margy Ross of Kimball Group explains.

2. Nine BI Megatrends for 2009. David Stodder looks at open-source software, dynamic interfaces, and data warehouse innovations reshaping business intelligence and information management. Get ready for the next waves that will help you ride out a tough economy.

3. Six Key Decisions for ETL Architectures. Bob Becker of Kimball Group offers best-practice advice on software vs. coding, where to integrate, how to capture changed data, when to stage data, where to correct data and what latency levels to shoot for.

4. Five Alternatives for Better Employee Dimension Modeling. The employee dimension presents one of the trickier challenges in data warehouse modeling. Joy Mundy of Kimball group presents five approaches ease the complication of designing and maintaining a ‘Reports To’ hierarchy for ever-changing reporting relationships and organizational structures.

5. Image Gallery: See Connections with Visualization. Seth Grimes’ tour of intuitive, “next-era” techniques for exploring data and developing insights on information.

6. Take Advantage of In-Memory Analytics. As Cindi Howson of BI Scorecard explains, fast analysis, better insight and rapid deployment are among the benefits of in-memory analytics, but different products are appropriate for different environments. Read the executive summary or download the full report.

7. Financial Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting in Uncertain Times. Fast-changing business conditions call for agile planning, budgeting and forecasting. Cindy Jutras and David Hatch of Aberdeen Group explain why best-in-class companies are better at collaborating, reducing budget cycle times, and analyzing and reporting on planning, budgeting and forecast data.

8. A Data Warehousing Fitness Program for Lean Times. Bob Becker and Joy Mundy of Kimball Group explain how you can do more with less. Follow this data warehousing/BI strengthening regimen to cut cost, avoid expenditures and bulk up the bottom line.
9. Oracle Exadata: Still an Unknown Quantity. In this in-depth review of Exadata V1, Curt Monash sought clearer insight on cost and administrative overhead. Exadata V2 looks even more promising as an answer for large-scale data warehousing, but we’ll reserve judgment until we hear more about production deployments.
10. Four Technologies Reshaping Business Intelligence. Doug Henschen explains how and why predictive analytics, real-time monitoring, in-memory processing and SaaS shaping the next generation of BI.
Top-Five Evergreen Articles of 2009
These articles were published between 2005 and 2008, yet they still offer relevant and useful advice that helps readers optimize performance, make the most of information, and choose the right technologies for their needs. Read on for timeless insight.

1. Business Process Management 101: The Basics of BPM and How to Choose the Right Suite. Just what is business process management and how do BPM systems work? Tulu Tanrikorur clears up some of the confusion and helps you choose the right product with a six-step guide to selecting a BPM suite.

2. Business Intelligence 2.0: Simpler, More Accessible, Inevitable. In early 2007, Neil Raden told us to say goodbye to complicated interfaces, disconnected analytics and shelfware. This essay has guided users and vendors alike toward simplicity, broad access and better ties between analysis and action.

3. Slowly Changing Dimensions Are Not Always as Easy as 1, 2, 3. There are three fundamental techniques for changing dimension attributes, but they leave gaps. Margy Ross and Ralph Kimball of Kimball Group explain hybrid approaches for coping with changing dimensions.

4. Six Steps to Better Sales Forecasting and Demand Planning. Most companies are immature and uncoordinated when it comes to sales forecasting and demand planning. Robert Kugel, CFA, of Ventana Research suggests six steps to increase forecast accuracy, speed planning cycles, reduce inventory costs, end stockouts, and increase customer satisfaction.

5. Practical Steps for Designing a Dimensional Model. Margy Ross of the Kimball Group explains a process that will ferret out the good, bad and ugly realities of your source data and help you avoid surprises, delays and cost overruns as you move from requirements gathering to final approval.


About Andy Painter

A passionate Information and Data Architect with experience of the financial services industry, Andy’s background spans pharmaceuticals, publishing, e-commerce, retail banking and insurance, but always with a focus on data. One of Andy’s principle philosophies is that data is a key business asset.
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