Among the key elements of business intelligence solution such as data sources, ETL, data warehouse and data models, data models play a major role related to the solution. For the sake of arguments, one can argue saying that analysis can be done with data in the data warehouse without data models but since beginning, for most of implementations, it has been considered as a must. If you are also puzzled, whether you need data models for completing your business intelligence solution, here are some benefits you get from data models that can be helped for taking your decision.
- Data models help to create a database (or dataset) with known names for entities (or dimensions) and measures used by business users rather opening the data warehouse with its schema. This helps business users to perform analysis with their terms without getting confused with terms added in data warehouse schema.
- Data models can be created specifically for an operation, process or department allowing business users to focus only on related data. This saves time and reduces the complexity without overloading users with unnecessary data.
- Data models allow business users (or developers if it is IT-driven data model) to add their own business logic that increases the business value when analyzing data. Good example is, KPI (Key Performance Indicator). Users can create KPIs related their business area for analyzing the business, applying business logic related to them.
- Data warehouse is large and complex even if it has been configured as a data mart. However, since data models are specific and subject-oriented, comparatively small in size. Yes, it is true that most advance data warehousing platforms offer high performance for all operations but small data models will definitely offer more performance for analysis.
- We used to create IT-driven data models as either Multi-dimensional or tabular. But as you know, modern business intelligence solutions offer self-service BI, allowing business users to create their own data models using Microsoft Excel or Power BI. This reduces the burden put on IT department and empowers business user.
Here is an illustration that explains how data models are used with modern business intelligence.