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Les Barbusinski
Les Barbusinski is vice president of technology and co-founder of Digital Symmetry, LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in the design and development of data warehousing and business intelligence solutions. He has more than 20 years of experience in data warehouse and operational systems development and provides hands-on expertise in data warehouse design, development and project management. Les can be reached at dwexpert@dsym.com.

RELATED ARTICLESOther DM Review Content from this Author

What are some of the factors that influence an organization's satisfaction with its data warehouse?
Ask The Experts published on October 2005 in DM Review Online

What activities and skill sets distinguish and differentiate a data warehouse DBA from a traditional Oracle production DBA?
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Should the DW use current day as the effective date?
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What is the relationship between the data warehouse and its portal?
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Is real-time integration or staging generally a better approach for enterprise-class software?
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Could you please let me know the advantages of ETL tools versus traditional programming?
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We're having trouble deciding just who does what and when they do it in the development life cycle.
Ask The Experts published on September 2005 in DM Review Online

Do you recommend keeping the same surrogate keys for a row in the ODS and in the data warehouse or can you assign different surrogate keys by data store?
Ask The Experts published on August 2005 in DM Review Online

Is any security policy relevant to business intelligence or data warehousing?
Ask The Experts published on August 2005 in DM Review Online

Is it wrong to build a billing application off the ODS?
Ask The Experts published on August 2005 in DM Review Online

Can we implement data marts without implementing a data warehouse? What is the difference between data warehousing and data marts?
Ask The Experts published on July 2005 in DM Review Online

I am interested in roles/responsibilities, reporting structure, development vs. run model support of a successful data warehousing organization.
Ask The Experts published on July 2005 in DM Review Online

Would you advise creating a junk dimension for a single flag? Also, when is it a good idea to create a junk dimension table?
Ask The Experts published on May 2005 in DM Review Online

What is a junk dimension and could you provide an example?
Ask The Experts published on May 2005 in DM Review Online

Could anyone please highlight the pros and cons of using products where you have to create such data clouds, compared to constructing OLAP cubes?
Ask The Experts published on April 2005 in DM Review Online

We are building a data warehouse with many source systems that provide data feeds.
Ask The Experts published on February 2005 in DM Review Online

Can you point me in the direction of any white papers comparing the pros and cons of selecting a BI tool?
Ask The Experts published on February 2005 in DM Review Online

I have been asked to do a performance test of the ETL process of a data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on January 2005 in DM Review Online

We are extracting data from a legacy system that has summary data in it that we will need in the DW, should we re-derive these counts as functions of ETL to ensure accuracy?
Ask The Experts published on November 2004 in DM Review Online

Can you point me to a white paper or case study where adding an ETL layer to the ODS enabled speedier nightly data quality?
Ask The Experts published on November 2004 in DM Review Online

How do we map all the OLTP schema to OLAP to answer queries about historical information in the data warehouse?
Ask The Experts published on November 2004 in DM Review Online

Would you interview top executives separately or as a group for the collection of business requirements via interviews?
Ask The Experts published on October 2004 in DM Review Online

When planning for an enterprise data warehouse what types of investment should be planned for in the way of technology infrastructure?
Ask The Experts published on October 2004 in DM Review Online

We about to establish a new IT section, using Oracle9i with a UNIX operating system.
Ask The Experts published on September 2004 in DM Review Online

We are in the planning stages of implementing a managed data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on September 2004 in DM Review Online

We have a data consolidation system which takes transactions from multiple systems and consolidate and enriches it with contextual information and publishes the same to the downstream consumer systems.
Ask The Experts published on September 2004 in DM Review Online

We are beginning a clean-sheet-of-paper architectural strategy for our overall reporting and BI needs.
Ask The Experts published on August 2004 in DM Review Online

We are currently evaluating several BI solution options and realized that there are solutions that manage by data kept in data warehouses and those that manage by data kept in analysis cubes.
Ask The Experts published on July 2004 in DM Review Online

The new trend has been demanding real-time data from the data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on July 2004 in DM Review Online

Our situation is that we need to build a system having: stage (loaded daily)-->ODS (loaded monthly)--> DW (loaded monthly).
Ask The Experts published on July 2004 in DM Review Online

Have you ever seen UML Use Cases used as a mechanism of modeling a data warehouse functionality? Currently the DW is modeled using dimensional modeling techniques.
Ask The Experts published on June 2004 in DM Review Online

Any time I get to a data related project I have a choice of ETL tool vs.homegrown solution.
Ask The Experts published on June 2004 in DM Review Online

In a purely dimensional modeling effort we have a need to obtain data from multiple fact tables to complete the report as the clients need it.
Ask The Experts published on June 2004 in DM Review Online

It's always scary to trot out one's core beliefs in front of the pros, but I need to hear your constructive criticism.
Ask The Experts published on June 2004 in DM Review Online

I've recently hired on to administer and manage a previously designed data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on May 2004 in DM Review Online

What factors should an organization consider when determining how often to "refresh" (update) its data warehouse?
Ask The Experts published on May 2004 in DM Review Online

In designing a star schema for grocery, we have promotion dimension.
Ask The Experts published on May 2004 in DM Review Online

Can you tell me how to distinguish reporting that is done from an OLTP system vs. reporting that is done from an ODS?
Ask The Experts published on May 2004 in DM Review Online

In data modeling, what is the preference on discriminator in the generalization process?
Ask The Experts published on May 2004 in DM Review Online

I have come across two approaches/practices in building data warehouses.
Ask The Experts published on April 2004 in DM Review Online

I have a question on best practices to be used in designing a data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on April 2004 in DM Review Online

We can have a staging area between extract and transform or we can have staging area between transform and load.
Ask The Experts published on March 2004 in DM Review Online

How do you handle the dimension key in a fact table when a row in the fact table does not relate to one of the dimension tables?
Ask The Experts published on March 2004 in DM Review Online

I am a DBA, new to data warehouse concepts and would appreciate if you could reply to my questions concerning issues of architecture as I prepare to implement a one terabyte warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on February 2004 in DM Review Online

I am working with a client that is currently enforcing a standard that does not allow direct query access to data mart dimensions and fact tables.
Ask The Experts published on February 2004 in DM Review Online

Can we group star schema database, ROLAP, client MOLAP and server MOLAP into OLAP strategies?
Ask The Experts published on February 2004 in DM Review Online

We have six offices worldwide where Clarify is being used.
Ask The Experts published on January 2004 in DM Review Online

We are in the process of evaluating several EBIS (enterprise business intelligence solutions).
Ask The Experts published on January 2004 in DM Review Online

What tools support data warehouse-specific modeling techniques?
Ask The Experts published on January 2004 in DM Review Online

What is the third normal form of bookSBN, bookTitle, FirstAuthor, Publisher, PubStreet, PupCity, PubContact,Pages, Price?
Ask The Experts published on January 2004 in DM Review Online

Is there any established procedure to calculate the size of a multidimensional database before actually building it?
Ask The Experts published on January 2004 in DM Review Online

I am looking for a time dimension table structure.
Ask The Experts published on January 2004 in DM Review Online

What are the major risk factors in a data warehouse project implementation?
Ask The Experts published on December 2003 in DM Review Online

When should I use a bitmappped index?
Ask The Experts published on December 2003 in DM Review Online

What are the responsibilities of a data warehouse project manager?
Ask The Experts published on December 2003 in DM Review Online

Should I use a work breakdown structure in a data warehouse project?
Ask The Experts published on December 2003 in DM Review Online

Is there any methodology to design and implement a data warehouse?
Ask The Experts published on November 2003 in DM Review Online

I have a data modeling question regarding patient diagnosis and hospital procedures that I can?t get to work.
Ask The Experts published on November 2003 in DM Review Online

My question is in the realm of operational reporting.
Ask The Experts published on October 2003 in DM Review Online

Is a data mart defined by its size or is it defined by the specific business process it supports?
Ask The Experts published on October 2003 in DM Review Online

When evaluating BI products, have you come across a product called Intelli-Mine?
Ask The Experts published on October 2003 in DM Review Online

I am newly involved in the BI/BPM space.
Ask The Experts published on August 2003 in DM Review Online

Have companies that have implemented data warehouses, particularly financial institutions, established a special data warehouse organization?
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I'm a JAVA developer involved in developing a data warehouse project.
Ask The Experts published on August 2003 in DM Review Online

We are currently looking for a best-in-class, pure Web-based BI tool for reporting, ad hoc and analysis needs.
Ask The Experts published on August 2003 in DM Review Online

I am currently managing the feasibility study phase of a data warehousing project.
Ask The Experts published on August 2003 in DM Review Online

In the insurance industry there are a lot of calculations that could be performed on the premium amounts.
Ask The Experts published on August 2003 in DM Review Online

I am postgraduate in economics, presently working on my MBA in operations.
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I would like to know about star schemas with multiple fact tables.
Ask The Experts published on August 2003 in DM Review Online

Is there a standard that can be used as a guideline for sizing and capacity?
Ask The Experts published on July 2003 in DM Review Online

Which are the ETL tools that are generally recommended to be used with MicroStrategy?
Ask The Experts published on June 2003 in DM Review Online

If someone were to venture into the BI world, what would be a logical starting place?
Ask The Experts published on June 2003 in DM Review Online

We are planning a multinational data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on June 2003 in DM Review Online

We have an LDM in ERwin representing a comprehensive data repository expected to collect data from many sources.
Ask The Experts published on June 2003 in DM Review Online

Do you have any information relating to very large, multiterabyte data warehouses and ODBC performance vs. other access methods to retrieve large queries?
Ask The Experts published on May 2003 in DM Review Online

I have been told to identify all objects relating to a customer in a data warehouse and a data mart.
Ask The Experts published on May 2003 in DM Review Online

Are there any industry standards or best practices on how to handle vendor solutions specifically pertaining to conforming to information architecture standards.
Ask The Experts published on April 2003 in DM Review Online

We met with one of the BI vendors to discuss query and reporting and multidimensional reporting.
Ask The Experts published on April 2003 in DM Review Online

I'm in charge of our data warehouse and one of my colleagues suggested we look into purchasing a job scheduler to handle file transfers, job dependencies, etc.
Ask The Experts published on April 2003 in DM Review Online

What kind of software can be used in a customer alert system?
Ask The Experts published on April 2003 in DM Review Online

What is a DOLAP?
Ask The Experts published on April 2003 in DM Review Online

Are Brio, Cognos, Crystal, BusinessObjects and SPSS the same type of BI solution?
Ask The Experts published on April 2003 in DM Review Online

We are planning to implement a data warehouse. What are the advantages/ disadvantages of using Oracle database over Teradata?
Ask The Experts published on March 2003 in DM Review Online

I have trouble selling the data warehouse to management.
Ask The Experts published on March 2003 in DM Review Online

Where do you stand on the Web services architecture debate ? REST vs. SOAP. Do you think that Web Services is the same thing as middleware?
Ask The Experts published on March 2003 in DM Review Online

Are there any Web sites or institutions that give the pros and cons for each BI tool? And are there any selection criteria?
Ask The Experts published on March 2003 in DM Review Online

My customer information is spread over multiple systems on different platforms.
Ask The Experts published on February 2003 in DM Review Online

I have a small problem relating to the relationships that exist between a dimension table and a fact table.
Ask The Experts published on February 2003 in DM Review Online

We are building a DW for our distribution company.
Ask The Experts published on February 2003 in DM Review Online

We are trying to create a policy on information reporting that would identify the types of reports that should come from our DW vs. those that should come from our operational systems.
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

How do I get project managers (business side/end users) to take ownership in a data warehousing initiative?
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

As part of a corporate-wide, one-instance implementation of ERP (SAP R/3) we are rethinking master data maintenance and data quality.
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

We are working with a data warehouse project where we extract data from the source (ETL) and create fact tables and dimensions depending on them.
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

Does implementation of XML require an XML server?
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

Is there any possibility of linking the measure of a particular fact to another fact in multiple fact star schema which needs the measure?
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

Are you aware of any tools that analyze COBOL programs to produce a traceability/transformation map that could be used to migrate to a commercial ETL tool?
Ask The Experts published on January 2003 in DM Review Online

What is the industry standard benchmark for data warehouse customer usage?
Ask The Experts published on December 2002 in DM Review Online

If there are 10 data marts which use different schemas (some use star and the others use snowflake), will inconsistencies arise designing a data warehouse using a bottom up approach?
Ask The Experts published on December 2002 in DM Review Online

Assuming that the applications and databases are on separate machines, what is the current thinking on where the data warehouse database should reside?
Ask The Experts published on December 2002 in DM Review Online

Do you suggest surrogate keys in data marts and/or EDW solutions?
Ask The Experts published on December 2002 in DM Review Online

We are doing an OLTP project for our client, but they want OLAP capabilities for reporting.
Ask The Experts published on November 2002 in DM Review Online

My company is currently starting an enterprise data warehouse project with an end result of ultimately feeding all of the back-end systems including our General Ledger system.
Ask The Experts published on November 2002 in DM Review Online

We are in the process of building an insurance data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on November 2002 in DM Review Online

Managers have always received financials and management reports in Excel spreadsheets that were prepared by the end-user community.
Ask The Experts published on October 2002 in DM Review Online

I am building a data mart for a P&C; insurance company.
Ask The Experts published on October 2002 in DM Review Online

I have a customer who has a DW implemented on Oracle and Oracle Express.
Ask The Experts published on October 2002 in DM Review Online

Is BI reporting and reporting embedded in applications different?
Ask The Experts published on October 2002 in DM Review Online

I have a modeling question: I have sales transactions (line items) that I want to put into a star schema in a data mart.
Ask The Experts published on September 2002 in DM Review Online

We are having a little debate here regarding the use of codes along with their related descriptions in our the relational dimensions (not the OLAP dimensions).
Ask The Experts published on September 2002 in DM Review Online

I found several definitions of BI.
Ask The Experts published on August 2002 in DM Review Online

In your opinion, what will be the hottest industry sectors (for example, banking, health care, insurance) for BI applications in the coming year across North America?
Ask The Experts published on July 2002 in DM Review Online

Many organizations have an interest in enterprise application integration (EAI) lately.
Ask The Experts published on July 2002 in DM Review Online

I would like to know if you have any studies comparing different software for business intelligence?
Ask The Experts published on July 2002 in DM Review Online

What does granularity mean in the context of a data warehouse and what are the various levels of granularity?
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

What is the relationship between the data warehouse and data marts?
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

I am in the process of designing the data model for the data warehouse. Is star schema or snowflake better?
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

We have implemented a data warehouse and we use OLAP (Essbase) and MS Access to query the data in the warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

What are the implications to a data warehouse implementation striving toward a zero latency enterprise (ZLE) solution?
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

My company is planning to replace our old BI tool.
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

Data quality is a critical issue affecting data warehouses, (DWs) yet there appears to be no sustainable solution with regard to quality input
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

Is there a comparison study/article on the popular BI tools - Business Objects, Microstrategy, Cognos, Crystal and Brio?
Ask The Experts published on June 2002 in DM Review Online

What are the recent trends in terabyte-size data warehouse backups?
Ask The Experts published on May 2002 in DM Review Online

What products perform well on an OS/400 platform?
Ask The Experts published on May 2002 in DM Review Online

What is the difference between summary and aggregate data?
Ask The Experts published on May 2002 in DM Review Online

My company is now investigating whether you could use one database model and/or one database for both OLTP and OLAP worlds.
Ask The Experts published on May 2002 in DM Review Online

How could developers improve the use of DSS and EIS with DW technology?
Ask The Experts published on April 2002 in DM Review Online

In a data warehouse for the financial or telecom industry, the customers are of two main categories: corporate and retail.
Ask The Experts published on April 2002 in DM Review Online

Our client already has many data marts without a data warehouse.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

We are looking to implement a new messaging/middleware tool before our existing middleware tool causes havoc or grinds to a halt.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

I'm looking for some input on building and maintaining the data warehouse development and testing environment.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

How important it is to have a separate ETL tool when our target RDBMS supplies ETL capabilities, e.g., PL/SQL in Oracle and DTS in MS SQLServer?
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

I have a question about OLAP.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

There are some lively discussions going on regarding the appropriate use of surrogate keys versus natural keys.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

We are building a data warehouse which will start at 100GB and will reach the terabyte range or more.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

Regarding dimensional modeling vs. OLAP modeling.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

Is there any recommendation as to the best way to set up a DW team structure?
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

My company is implementing a DW, later this year an EAI project will be initiated.
Ask The Experts published on March 2002 in DM Review Online

How would you characterize the difference between Bill Inmon's philosophy on data warehousing and Richard Kimball's?
Ask The Experts published on January 2002 in DM Review Online

Can you point me to articles discussing the importance of front-end tools/applications and the purpose they have in business?
Ask The Experts published on January 2002 in DM Review Online

Is there any BI tool that can handle a recursive hierarchy?
Ask The Experts published on January 2002 in DM Review Online

We are developing a VLDB that will probably use aggregate tables as well as database partitioning.
Ask The Experts published on January 2002 in DM Review Online

What is the difference between data warehousing and business intelligence?
Ask The Experts published on January 2002 in DM Review Online

In your opinion, what are the next round of challenges in the data warehousing field, and what products are well poised to solve them?
Ask The Experts published on December 2001 in DM Review Online

In using a true DW design, if data integration techniques and standards are created and followed, are there other things that make it difficult to add additional data design (tables, fields, etc.) in later stages?
Ask The Experts published on December 2001 in DM Review Online

I work for the conference production company and am currently conducting research for our new project on the topic of data mining/data warehousing.
Ask The Experts published on December 2001 in DM Review Online

What kind of third-party software can I use to build a cluster for Windows NT? Or can I somehow use just the NT?
Ask The Experts published on December 2001 in DM Review Online

Why has the concept of data warehousing become popular?
Ask The Experts published on December 2001 in DM Review Online

I've just finished my MBA (systems) and I am looking forward to a career in data warehousing.
Ask The Experts published on November 2001 in DM Review Online

I'm evaluating DataStage from Ascential and PowerCenter from Informatica they seem to have pretty similar functionality, can anyone tell me what the main differences between them are?
Ask The Experts published on November 2001 in DM Review Online

Apart from stored procedures what is the best language for writing data cleansing and transformation code for any DW?
Ask The Experts published on November 2001 in DM Review Online



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