Do I need Data Warehouse and SQL skills for Cognos BI?

Whether you’re using an IBM Cognos Business Analytics Solution or another vendor’s business analytics solution, you most likely will be needing SQL resources to have queries written.  Many of our clients ask if our consultants know SQL and many of our consultants do know SQL skills for Cognos BI.  However, that does not mean consultants will know your database setup, fields, tables or the integrity of your data.  If your organization is very methodical and has an up-to-date data dictionary that road maps your data warehouse sources, you are very much ahead of the game.  If not, it’s like me driving around your neighborhood to get pizza.  I do have a valid driver’s license, I will obey the traffic laws, but I cannot assure you that the pizza I bring back won’t be from the place you just saw on “dirty dining” or is really the best in town.  Still, do you want to have someone you’re already paying who knows the sources to write the queries, or pay additional for someone to learn the sources and then write the queries?

So with that being said, when planning for a new implementation or development phase, it is best practice to involve your data warehouse resource(s).  Your data warehouse guru should be a part of the design phase, or at least review the design, before the build phase to provide a sanity check of the data assumptions you are planning to use.  Confirm their availability when defining timelines of deliverables.

Each implementation and/or development phase is different, so there are no hard and fast rules.  For some companies your data warehouse guru is in IT, burdened by other projects, and for some others there is a resource within Finance that is available for ad-hoc duties such as this.  The data requirements are a driver too for how much time is needed.  Will there need to have several tables joined?  Does the volume require Views to be set up?  Does the data need to be cleansed? 

In short, your data guru will still be needed but a consultant that knows SQL will be a benefit and add efficiency to your project.

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