Data Modeling Made Simple: A Practical Guide for Business & Information Technology Professionals Paperback – Jun 15 2007
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So, if you're a Business Analyst, Information Manager and need a good understanding of Data Modelling, even occasionally need to make one yourself, without having to spend years in training: buy this book..
I was recently working with the VP of BI for the company I work for and was telling him that we needed to develop a subject area model for our data warehouse and that we would use it as a sort of road map in building the data warehouse.
He asked a simple question, "What's a subject." I gave him some examples and he said, "Oh, you mean a table." Hmmm....not quite. More discussion ensued and I finally got the point across.
I realized after that incident that I had a hard time communicating exactly what my deliverables would be and why they are important. I grabbed Steve's book off my shelf and re-read it that weekend (it's an easy book to read).
As I looked at the list of things I planned to do in building a new data warehouse and pondered the help I would need from the business users in completing them, I saw more conversations in my future about what I do and why it's necessary. I promptly ordered 3 copies of the book for the business users I interact (including the aforementioned VP) with and 3 more for the junior data modelers on my team.
The book has been very helpful in bringing non-technical folks up to speed to help with a DW initiative. We are currently working on definitions and Steve's examples and guidelines in this area are helping us put together solid definitions and I am doing a lot less editing than I expected.
As someone who does data architecture every day, I sometimes forget why. I just know that I start with subject areas and work my down. I need definitions that are useful, but sometimes find it hard to explain to others what I mean by that. I have adopted Steve'w words and examples when communicating what I do and why I do it that way to others and the best part is that people are getting it.
I think this is one of the best practical data modeling books I own at any price. And on a value/$ scale, this tops the charts.
Nice work Steve!
As a developer who approaches a database as just a backend to my business application, I gained further respect for data modeling, even as a parallel process to object modeling. Most of the author's statements of purpose and benefits of the data model match the purpose and benefits of an object model. I believe that doing both only gains me more insight into the business which is of course invaluable.
On more than one occasion after the author suggests something I found myself thinking, "I hope he explains other situations where you would not want to do that!" And almost without fail two sentences or paragraphs later he explained the alternatives or downsides to the suggestion. To me this is a hallmark of any good book on technology and methods. In fact, just to be picky, I only recall one time he did not do this. After explaining that we might denormalize a database to make it more user friendly (among many other reasons he goes in to) he then states that we might want to use an integer as opposed to a 10-character code for a surrogate key on an entity because the integer is more efficient. That's true, but I was expecting him to state the tradeoff that the 10 character code is much more user friendly, more easily read. However, as I said earlier, I think most tradeoffs that I thought of were all covered in the book.
The book is definitely an introduction book and never claims to be more than that. The title even states it is just a simple, practical guide. The chapters are laid out as common questions someone might have about data modeling which makes it an easy read and an easy reference. I will recommend this book to new developers as a quick intro to data modeling and to help arm them with good definitions of terms and high-level explanations of common concepts that they need to understand. I will also recommend this to mid-level and senior developers who still seem to have no basic grasp of data modeling concerns and methods. And lastly I will recommend it to those who seem to think there is a huge gap between object modeling and data modeling in the common business application.
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