Data Warehousing and Data Science

1 December 2014

Using BI Tools as ETL Tools

Filed under: Business Intelligence — Vincent Rainardi @ 6:59 pm

A few years ago a colleague said that sometimes users were only using the BI tool as an ETL tool, i.e. they use the BI tool such as Tableau and QlikView, just to get the data. Just to bring the data into Excel. Then they do everything in Excel.

Today I realise that it is true. For some users, they have all of their data in Excel, which they get from various sources. ERP, trading system, settlement system, reference data system, etc. And the data from data warehouse is just one additional source to them. If we give them the DW/BI data in SSAS cubes via Excel pivot table, great! They can “integrate” the DW data straight away.

But if we give them a BI tool such as Tableau, QlikView, Spotfire, Hana, Cognos, BO or Microstrategy, then they export the data into Excel and they use the data. This is particularly true in financial industry where the users are so advanced with Excel. Investment banks, retail banks, insurance and asset management, those are the industries where there are a lot of Excel wizards amongst the underwriters, claim adjusters, financial analysts, debt traders and fund managers. Yes, in financial industry, Excel is the defacto tool that every analyst uses to do their day-to-day job.

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