We recently hosted Hans Hultgren presenting his Data Vault course. From the feedback I received it was a great success, and it looked a lot of fun too.
Data Vault is an agile data warehouse methodology, we’re an agile business intelligence company, the connection is that simple.
Following the course, Hans presented at our lunchtime business intelligence meet-up to the great and good of the Wellington business intelligence community. I was impressed by its business focus. I have a business background, not data warehousing, so sitting through any kind of data warehouse methodology talk can be hard work to say the least, but this was different.
For a start it’s disarmingly simple for business and agilest alike. The opening statement that ‘change is ever present’ is undeniable in any business context, and increasing change is even more likely. Therefore, any data warehouse methodology has to be built on the basis of change. We simply cannot work on the expectation that a business will stand still whilst we build a warehouse and then stand still further whilst they use for a few years. As data warehouse experts we need to be the same as the business; constantly changing, or what we prefer to call Agile.
Great, we’re all on the same page; things change. But Data Vault goes a step further. It starts by asking what the business does…who/what are the key players (or ‘entities’ as warehousing types like to call them) and uses this as the basis for the design of the Vault.
If you’re a retailer then you have (simplistically) Stores, Customers, Employees, Sales and Products and by joining these together ‘Some Customer buy some Products’ you have a data model that developers can build, but more importantly, the business can understand.
And then the real kicker; it responds well to change. It’s easy to add a new ‘entity’ into the model or add a new relationship. From the businesses point of view, draw it on the diagram and it can be built!
Of course, Data Vault is also audit able, maintains history beautifully, scales infinitely, loads easily and best of all, is simple. But then you’d expect that anyway.
Best of all, it can change when required.