1/23/2015

The Life of a Business Intelligence Consultant

Working as a Business Intelligence consultant takes many skills sets, both wide and deep.

Obviously you have to know databases.  How to install, configure, backup, security, redundancy, fail over, Cloud vs. On-Premise and costs.  Sort of the DBA side.



You must know how to build Tables, Views, Stored Procedures, Triggers, Referential Integrity.  And construct queries, optimize with Indexes.  The Data Modeling side.



And you must know reporting to pull that data into some usable format for easy consumption.  Which requires knowledge of installing the software, configuring, assigning users to run the services, keys, certificates, scheduling, formatting, network configuration and backups.

And you must know other reporting tools like Dashboards, KPI, Drill down.  Which requires knowledge of OLAP cubes, the MDX language and Role Based permissions.



You must know Extract - Transform - Load or ETL.  Pulling data from multiple data sources, staging them, applying business rules, creating Keys for Surrogate and Alternate (Business).  Which requires knowledge of all the available components to perform various tasks.

And you should have some idea of Hadoop, HDFS, Map/Reduce, Hive, HiveSQL, Pig.  And how to flow data into and out of Hadoop.  And an understanding of the internal configurations and mechanism in which the ecosystems runs.  And possibly the installation on multiple nodes.



And you need to know when to use what technology.  Is the Cloud a good option or On-Premise.  Can you leverage the existing Active Directory.  What type of security should you use for Authentication.

So that's the technology part.

You also need to have knowledge of the Consulting aspect.  Meeting clients.  Selling your services.  Project Discovery.  Creating Statements of Work (SOW).  Estimating projects.  Agile Methodology, Scrum Meetings, Waterfall Method. You need to account and track your time for Billable Hours.  As well as keeping the Client informed.  Moving code to Testing and Production.  Creating a Maintenance plan going forward.  And closing out a project.

And then there's the Business aspect.  What does your client actually do.  You need to get up to speed on the terminology.  And understand the dynamics of the staff as well as the hierarchy and chain of command and decision makers.  And how does the data flow through they system using what applications.  What functionality are you required to deliver to satisfy the needs of the client, stay in budget and meet your deadlines.  And how is that measured.  And how can you position yourself for repeat business.

So Consulting requires many skills across many domains: Technology, Consulting, Business.  There are many aspects to know and its a fast paced environment where you are only as good as your current project.  And you must deliver again and again.  And be constantly learning in the background to stay current.

So there you go, my synopsis of the life of a Business Intelligence Consultant.

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