We’re currently running a series of blog postings on what to really focus on to get the most business value when your resources are limited.  The postings are based on a presentation given to leaders in small to medium sized companies.  This is the second in the series.

Benefits of designing by business needThe dimensional modelling approach starts with interviewing your business stakeholders to understand the key business processes and measures.  There’s also a focus throughout on using language that makes sense to business people, even during the system design.  In turn, that leads
to good user uptake.


The business matrix that you develop from the interviews also creates a good framework to use for on-going project control.  The underlying ethos is one of doing the absolute minimum that the business needs and no more, and that keeps costs low while satisfying the key business requirements.  Because of all that, it’s the dimensional modelling approach that we’re covering in this series of blog posts.


Example business matrix

Here’s an example of what we mean by a business matrix.  This is the type of high level view you get by collating information from the initial business interviews.  One of the great things about it is that it in addition to acting as a framework throughout the life of your project, it informs the decisions you then make about the sequence of development.

For example, depending on what business value is associated with each fact table (data mart), you can make your life easy by picking for early delivery a fact table that doesn’t need many dimensions.  You can then gradually add more “conformed” or shared dimensions as they’re needed to support incremental data marts.  So the design is implemented and grows gradually, delivering increasing amounts of business benefit as it grows and always in a way that’s consistent with the overall business aims.

In the next posting we’ll examine why Agile is currently so popular as a way of delivering information and data projects, and we’ll also consider some of the risks it brings and what you can do to mitigate them if you’re considering Agile as an approach.