We decided to write this book because we sensed the power and excitement associated with Analysis Services 2005 early on in its development, especially in relation to improvements over Analysis Services 2000. We also sensed that with minimal effort you could probably re-configure the user interface elements to pilot a nuclear submarine. Our recommendation, however, is to use Analysis Services 2005 to build, process, and deploy top of the line business intelligence applications. Ok, so we are not shy about admitting to the apparent complexity of the product when faced with the user interface, which happens to be embedded in the Microsoft Visual Studio shell. This is great for you, especially if you are already familiar with the Visual Studio development environment.
With this book, we want to show that not only will you overcome any possible initial shock regarding the user interface, you will come to see it as your friend. It turns out there are many wizards to accomplish common tasks, or you can design the analytic infrastructure from the ground up, it is up to you. This formidable, yet friendly user interface will empower you to implement business analytics of a caliber formerly reserved for academicians writing up government grant proposals or Ph.D. dissertations. More importantly, this power to turn data into information, and we mean, real usable business-related decision making information, can impact the bottom line of your company in terms of dollars earned and dollars saved. And that is what data warehousing, ultimately, is all about. Put another way, the purpose of all this data warehousing is simple; it is about generating actionable information from the data stores created by a company's sales, inventory, and other data sources. In sum, it is all about decision support.
What was the impetus for you to pick up this book? Perhaps you are passionate about extracting information from reams of raw data; or perhaps you have some very specific challenges on the job right now that you think might be amenable to a business analysis based solution. Then, there is always the lure of fame and fortune. Please be aware that attaining expert status in data warehousing can lead to lucrative consulting and salaried opportunities. However, it won't likely make you as rich as becoming a purveyor of nothing-down real estate courses. If your desire is to leave the infomercial career path to others and get really serious about data warehousing in general and business intelligence in particular, you have just the book in your hands to start or continue on your path to subject mastery.
The obvious question now is what are the pre-requisites for reading and understanding the content of this book? You certainly do not have to already know the intricacies of data warehousing, you will learn that here as you go. If you have only the foggiest notion of what a relational database is; well, this book is going to challenge you at best and bury you at worst. If you are not intimidated by what you just read, this book is for you. If you have worked on data warehouses using non-Microsoft products and want to learn how Microsoft can do it better, this book is for you. If you are a database administrator, MIS Professional or application developer interested in exploiting the power of business intelligence then this book is definitely for you!