It is clear from the name that business intelligence (BI) is intended to deliver intelligence to the business. Businesses use the output from BI systems to develop a strategy for their organizations at the very highest level. This can deliver enormous benefits, but, if the data is misunderstood, there are enormous risks. It is therefore essential to have a thorough understanding of the data to avoid these risks. A data model is a valuable tool that is used to help businesspeople and IT communicate effectively. The databases that are built to support BI must therefore contain the correct information in a format that the business can use.

This white paper discusses the role of data modeling in documenting, explaining, and clarifying the output of the various components of BI. Each component has different structures and requires different approaches for the data modeler. However, with careful use of modeling tools, not only can we avoid the risks of misinformation, we can also extend the benefits of fully understanding the designs of our systems.