MicroStrategy 8

I had the chance recently to attend a session where MicroStrategy representatives discussed the new features implemented in the new MicroStrategy 8.

There were basically two improvements over the prior version:
1. MicroStrategy 8 added plenty of features for users to generate nice-looking reports.
2. MicroStrategy 8 added additional data source connectivity capabitilies.

That was pretty much it. When I first saw MicroStrategy 7, I was very impressed as it represented a big step forward from their earlier versions. With 8, I was not as impressed. One thing that was interesting was the absence of any new, more power OLAP features. I am wondering if this means that the OLAP tool vendors have pretty much included all the features that can be added, and now can only improve their product by expanding into other areas of data warehousing such as reporting, data mining, and ETL?

IBM is buying Ascential for $1.1 Billion

IBM is spending $1.1 billion in cash to buy Ascential Software, maker of the popular DataStage ETL tool.

This is another sign that the BI industry is undergoing consolidation. Now, all three big players in the data warehousing field (Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM) have a capable ETL tool to offer to the business intelligence crowd. In terms of filling a void, IBM did a good job. However, if I am a DataStage customer, I’d be a little worried.

Why? Because 1) IBM is gradually becoming a services company, and buying Ascential does not exactly fit into this mode. 2) The fate of a standalone tool that got bought into a big company usually isn’t very good.

If I were a DataStage customer, this might be a good time to review your investment in DataStage. Is the software being used to capacity? Are there cheaper alternatives? Also, another thing worth considering is whether if you are already an IBM shop. If you are, you’ll probably be fine, as IBM will definitely make sure DataStage continues to support the IBM product family. If you are not, there is always the risk that IBM will make DataStage such an integral component of its BI suite that support for other platforms becomes lackluster.

What Do I Look For In A DW Resume

Let’s say I am looking for a hands-on position in a data warehousing team (this is very different from looking for a project management, which requires a very different set of skills). How do I screen for resumes?

First, I scan for the Technical Skills section to see if the candidate has the relevant experience with the proper tools. Depending on the specific position we have in mind, this could be ETL tools, OLAP tools, data modeling tools, etc. Let’s use ETL as an example. I would looke for someone who has used Informatica, DataStage, Ab Initio, or something else. A big bonus is if the candidate states on the resume he or she has done ETL without using a third-party tool. I always believe that a person who has had to done something in the data warehousing world without a third-party tool would no question have the deepest understanding of all the possible complexities that may come with the job (and this is especially true with ETL).

Then, I look at the type of work done in this person’s previous two jobs. At least one of the positions need to be very related to what we are looking for. In the data warehousing world, because of the speed of the technological change, being out of the industry for 2-3 years would essentially mean you are out of the loop.

Finally, I look for signs of attention to detail. Are there any spelling mistakes in the resume? Does the candidate spell the product/company names correctly?

That’s it! This simple process, though, weeds out about 2/3 of all the resumes I receive. If you are sending out a resume for a DW position, please make sure you cover these three points.