I've had a conversation with one or two of the folks at the DBA site about merging Business Intelligence into that site. I've just put a question up on the DBA meta site as well, link here.

The folks at DBA are quite keen on the idea of explicitly including business intelligence topics into the scope of the site. The site is also getting some momentum, and buy-in from the SO and SF mods. I think that it's probably the best avenue to set up a SE forum where B.I. questions are likely to get answered without getting lost in the noise.

Does anyone have strong or even cogent opinions about merging this site into the DBA site, which is (depending on who you ask) more of a generalised database design, development and administration site rather than pure database administration.

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I wonder if the downvoter would do us a favour and answer with their reasoning behind the downvote. I've got positive feedback, mostly on the meta.dba question, so I'm in the market for a dissenting opinion. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Dec 22 '11 at 19:57
    
If DBA site lovers ever wanted to support BI, why is there a 27% of unanswered or poorly-taken cared BI questions across SE? –  bonCodigo Jun 3 at 0:51

6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

DBAs has gone a long way to welcome BI questions in the past few months. Closing this proposal as a duplicate of that - no sense in making folks wait to ask these questions!

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I agree that many questions do overlap with DBA topics, but many do not. For example, in the BI environment I work in, a database is only a small part of the larger picture. Data can be sourced from multiple files such as an Excel file, then brought into a DB environment, but ultimately is consumed from an end user perspective in something like Cognos Analysis Studio. If I start asking questions about anything but the SQL piece of it, the DBA community is not going to provide much assistance I would think.

Things I don't think would be of particular interest to the DBA community that I am interested in from a BI perspective:

  • WebFocus
  • CliqView
  • Cognos
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There is a known issue with the naming of dba.se that gets wrangled about on a semi-regular basis. The remit of the site is more 'advanced database topics' than database administration per se, although database administration is a part of the whole picture. A part of the dicsussion I've been having with the dba.se mods is to explicitly broaden the remit to including reporting and OLAP tools such as Cognos or CliqView. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jan 12 '12 at 23:52
    
Right on, if broadening dba.se is within the scope, I'm all for the merge. My thought process was more of "if I asked one of my DBAs any question about Cognos or Cliqview - they would look at me like 'go away'" :) –  dpollitt Jan 13 '12 at 0:11
    
@dpolitt - there's an ongoing debate on meta.dba.se about the name and it does confuse people who see SQL development questions migrated there. The current state of play is that nobody can think of a name that isn't significantly worse than dba.se in some respect, and the general plan is to just wait and let understanding build - essentially the problem is one of brand recognition. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Jan 13 '12 at 9:58
    
DBA doesn't seem have lived up to the broadening support to BI ever since the merged took place... At least it doesn't show by the moderation on BI questions lying around un-touched, poorly cast out, and unanswered... Looks like DBAs only care about DB aspect and growing traffic to DBA site... –  bonCodigo Jun 3 at 0:54
    
@bonCodigo It shouldn't be the DBAs' (or the DB developers') care to answer BI questions, should it? It should be BI people's care to answer those questions (at the DBA.se site.) I mean whoever wants to, can answer questions, in any site. The question stays though, why many BI questions are not answered? Why the people who participate here (or other BI people) do not answer those? –  ypercube Jul 24 at 16:50

I have noticed lately that the community at SO has become more diligent about moving database-related questions into the DBA community (except of course when they relate more to the programming layer of a multi-tier DB application). So I think that if BI became part of the DBA community, it would reap the benefits of that growing traffic and contribute to a more active site for both communities.

Now that so many enterprise RDBMS suites ship with some kind of BI solution in the box, it is quite common for DBAs to have at least some knowledge of BI, and vice versa. So on the whole, I don't see any negative aspects to this proposed merger.

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some general thoughts ...

For keeping BI separate:

The following are really only of interest to BI people

  • end user tools (CliqView, A la Carte, Cognos, SSRS, etc)
  • ETL tools
  • OLAP dbs and query tools
  • MDM incorporation
  • requirements analysis and functional design

For incorporating BI and DBA groups:

  • Neither may get enough support to succeed, so we will both lose out
  • The DB design and efficiency aspects are very similar
  • discussions over Inmon, Kimball, Data Vault could be richer with DBA input

I think I lean towards incorporation, but I guess as long as the remit of DBA site was widened to include the above list of aspects of BI, which are quite critical in my mind.

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have just read the link which does a lot of justice to merging ... meta.dba.stackexchange.com/questions/503/… –  Marcus D Feb 28 '12 at 11:17
    
it's got a fair bit of support amongst the regulars on dba.se, and the volume of traffic on dba.se is starting to pick up significantly, suggesting that it's going places. The decision is pretty close to being finalised. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Feb 28 '12 at 13:41
    
It's also worth noting that the DBA site does cover advanced database development topics and there's quite a bit of wrangling going on about the confusion generated by the name. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Feb 28 '12 at 13:42
    
btw, quite a few of the regulars on dba.se are from London and surrounds - in fact one of the mods lives quite close to me and I just lent him one of the HPs and a disk array. We did a meetup towards the end of last year - if we do another you should come along. Can't remember if I gave you my mobile number or not. –  ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Feb 29 '12 at 18:05
    
Apart from your DBA meetup interest... ever wonder why there is a separate set of skills being tested and required for BI and Analytics developers/BAs and Analyts compared to a DBA... –  bonCodigo Jun 3 at 0:46

There is no good reason for fitting a square peg into a round hole - BI technology uses databases but to assume that does not mean those to subjects belong together.

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Agree with @Raffel!

Definition hanging out at the DBA site: Database Administrators Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for database professionals who wish to improve their database skills and learn from others in the community....

A DB professional (DBA, DB Programmer, DB designer) may choose to get involved in Business Intelligence projects as they play the part contributing to build databases and the data warehouse by applying database techniques and security skills. We need a vessel to store the data; Vessel has to be secured & managed in its own manner; Through out BI we do use SQL and our knowledge in database technology. But it doesn't DEFINE BI, BI practices or what BI provides to the audience.

So we shall not submerge our view of a database & its technologies with Business Data and Analytics. The very need and the underlying concept/essense of Business Intelligence is driven on modeled DATA AND Analytics with a presentation layer.

We all know how different that is from running a query... Instead of wasting time and money to build a decision supporting platform on n-number of sources to deliver those dashboards, scorecards to satisfy the management, why don't we just give a set of department databases access to our CEO & his team and watch how long it takes query that 'tangled' data...

Can we say the efficiency of a Database design is measured over its ability to peform on transactional data? Where as BI is able to provide best dimensions and metrics on Denormalized data? Does it alarm the different between OLTP and OLAP to us...?

Following areas are helpful to understand how DB as a technology is used to build and support Business Intelligence and how different they are from either other:-

  • Data Analysis
  • Database Mechanics
  • Data Modeling
  • SQL Scripting

In terms of the Data Analysis, independent existence and execution of BI have become extremely important with a set of built-in or third party tools - since techniques used are beyond SQL. Whether you and I like it or not. Rigorous analysis demand tools such as R, Matlab to be in the picture slowly but surely.

BI has evolved into a cohesive self-servicing process wrapping and connecting disparate data sources, permitting users to execute upon data without the assistance of technical staff within an organization.

According to a Analyst firm Forrester refers to BI evolution as "the only way to make BI more pervasive, delivering insights into every decision-important or mundane-that drives your business. It's the key to empowering users with actionable insights while removing many mundane BI development and maintenance tasks from IT's crushing workload."

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The DBA.se site has in the Help center -> Asking -> What topics can I ask about here? page five bullets. One of them is: "Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence including etl, reporting, and olap" –  ypercube Jul 24 at 16:57
    
@ypercube long time no see :) well none of the technology centres of financial institutions I or people I know worked , didnt necessarily recruit DBA to for BI expertise. And have you seen how current DBA site dismisses BI related questions? Who made the help centre to be like that? Given this entire discussion seems to haunted by DBA pros - there's really no point putting any perspective...I guess. There's math exchange but there's still mathematica. –  bonCodigo Jul 29 at 12:17
    
Not sure why you say that ("how current DBA site dismisses BI related questions?") And not only DBAs hang around the DBA.se site. Several of high rep users are only SQL developers and I know at least two that work in BI area. I think that the badly (I agree) chosen name (DBA) affects your view. –  ypercube Jul 29 at 12:26

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