Now there’s a statement to begin my first blog with! Two weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the Data Vault training by Dan Lindstedt (yes, the master himself!). Believe me, it’s a must have for any BI & DWH-professional. What stroke me in particular, apart from the attractiveness and usefulness of the DV modeling approach, was Dan’s critical attitude towards the industry and what is being told and teached about data warehousing. In his opinion, the industry teaches much of it wrongly. It was refreshing to hear his original thoughts and his motivation behind it. Things like data cleansing (downstream, not upstream), implementing business rules into the DWH-model (DON’T), who’s responsible for data quality (the business stupid, not IT!) are just some of the topics that were discussed. Not only were much of his thoughts original and stimulating, he also introduced the practical experience that backed it up. Now there’s something to think about!
Why don’t we hear, read, write, blog, you name it, much more often with this critical attitude in mind? Don’t get me wrong, with ‘critical’, I do not mean ‘conservative’. But much of the stuff that’s written about BI & DWH is slideware and hardly supported by either tons of practical experience or rock solid scientific proof. Did you know that on average, 60-70% of data warehouse initiatives fail? What does the industry do in response? Instead of investigating root causes and improving current practices and methodologies (like Dan did, thank you!), we introduce new services and products and tell the client he should abandon his current solution and invest $ 15 mio in this great new solution, called ‘Pervasive BI’, or ‘Operational data warehousing’ or OpenHowdyDowdyETL.com. We don’t help our customers this way and we don’t help ourselves! It gives the firm a nice revenue on the short term, but in the long run it hurts the industry and damages our image as professionals. Don’t get caught in the bandwagon.