Monday, October 17, 2011

BI solution additional to use of Clarizen's online project mgt software

BI Architects develops Business Intelligence solutions for its customers. Furthermore it has developed BI solutions for managing its own business processes, such as the solution that helps the project managers monitor, track and report project progress (including KPI's and earned values), the finance department enable swift and correct detailed invoicing and the management team gaining direct insight in the performance/profitability of projects.

BI Architects has chosen the Clarizen's online project management software for the registration of customers, projects, milestones, tasks and writing time. The Clarizen tool takes care of the complete project administration/resource management/and much plus it gives basic insight in performance via reporting. What it lacks is giving a more detailed insight in the performance of project phases over projects (for comparing project performances and quality improvement), earned values (current status and expected outcome) of projects and more figures needed for project management that are available without starting reports, setting parameters, running the report and opening the result in MS Excel.

What we have done is developing a standard Microsoft SQL Server Integrated Services/SQL Server Analysis Services (SSIS/SSAS) solution that adds what we miss in the Project Management tooling. SSIS is used for the extraction, transformation and loading of data from the Clarizen database into a staging environment (dimension tables), while SSAS delivers actionable insights (cubes and its dimensions) and made available via a pivot table in Microsoft Excel.

All information is now available via MS Excel and on the fly customizable serving several purposes within the BI Architects (project) organization.

For more information on our project management BI solution please contact me via . For more information on Clarizen's online project management software go to .

Hermann-Otto Israel
BI Architects project manager

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bug regarding datasources in BIDS

Everytime I use shared datasources in a SSIS package and configure the connectionstring with a package configuration I've noticed that my package configuration connectionstring is being overwritten by the connectionstring that is present in the shared datasource (the synchronize connection strings popup). This can be very confusing.

I've done some research on the internet and discovered that this behaviour is a bug in BIDS, and only in BIDS. When you deploy your SSIS packages to a server the package configuration connectionstring will overrule the connectionstring in the shared datasource.

1 Shared datasources
2 Datasources within SSIS package

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kimball Design Tip #139 Much Ado About Nothing

Yesterday I've read Design Tip #139 from the Kimball Group. In this tip Margy Ross is talking about renewed rumblings in the DW/BI industry about the Kimball versus Inmon approaches. She refers to a white paper, written in January 2008 by the Kimball Group, entitled “Facts and Fables about Dimensional Modeling”. In this white paper, the Kimball Group tries to tackle misunderstandings about dimensional modeling that appear in DW/BI industry publications, training, and marketing materials.

Margy Ross also refers to an article she wrote almost eight years ago for Intelligent Enterprise magazine (since absorbed into InformationWeek) entitled “Differences of Opinion”. At the time, she tried to fairly contrast the Kimball bus architecture approach versus the Corporate Information Factory. She had several clients who were struggling to make a decision between the two dominant schools of thought, so she attempted to summarize the similarities and differences.

If you're are interested in this and other Kimball Design Tips you can read them over here. They are worth reading ;-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"No cubes can be found" message from SSRS 2008 R2

Today I had a problem that I have already came across some time ago. In Visual Studio 2008 (BIDS) I created a SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS 2008 R2) report and connected this report to an Analysis Services Olap Cube (SSAS 2008 R2). Then I created a new dataset and when I started the Query Designer, the following error message appears: "No cubes can be found".

After looking at the cube properties, I noticed that the "Visible" property of the cube was set to "False". This property should be set to "True" to enable connectivity in client applications.

Hopefully I can help someone with this!