I was at a BI tool regional users group recently where we were discussing people who were long on BI but short on ETL experience. Afterwards I got to thinking about the knowledge process that most people and groups go through in reporting, business intelligence (BI), ETL (extract, transform and load) and data warehousing.
I have coached both my sons’ soccer teams over the last ten ears and have noticed that kids go through similar learning experiences and growth. Some of what I’ve observed:
Sometimes kids are too young to learn certain things but it doesn’t hurt to try. If they are ready then they will progress that much faster. The corollary is that if you push them too much before they are ready it will turn them off from the sport. The pushing usually comes from parents screaming at the kids to score when what they should really be doing is passing the ball to someone else.
My second observation is that some of the early “superstar” kids may not even be that good later because early successes (reinforced by their over-enthusiastic parents) in scoring, for example, means that they might skip learning some of the basics like ball control and teamwork.
What does this have to do with DW and BI? Take the time to learn the basics! It’s OK to keep the goal in mind, but don’t forget the basics you need to know to get you there intact.
A “been there, done that” attitude lends itself to learning by trial and error. Can you afford that trial and error period in this economy? Or would you rather go to delivering business value faster to your business users?
Oh yeah… the "over-enthusiastic parents" are the business power users and the "early success" are the cool BI tools that slice and dice the (rather limited and clean) proof-of-concept (POC) data. Don’t let this early success give you the impression that your kids (the POC BI tools evaluation) are going to be a hit when they grow up (i.e. you roll-out your POC to the "real" business user community.)