Question: I have a finance system and another system which does sales, production, etc. in my small to medium-size company: what is the best approach to get an integrated view of information of both systems? I have been told my options are a dashboard; enterprise information integration (EII, something about virtual SQL); or data warehousing (ETL)? It's about getting the finance side and operation side of the business in one view dynamically. Which of these options would you suggest?

Larissa Moss' Answer: Dashboard, enterprise information integration (EII) and DW/ETL are not mutually exclusive. A dashboard is a type of presentation display or presentation layer used as a front-end user interface. EII is middleware that allows you to "virtually" extract operational source data, merge it (link it) and present it to the end user without having to "park" (store) the data in a persistent database first. ETL is the process of physically extracting, cleansing, enhancing, merging (linking) and parking (storing) the enriched operational source data in a persistent DW database (or data marts), which can then be reused for other BI purposes. Depending on the scope and the goals of your BI initiative, the number of unique versus common reporting requirements, the quality of your source data, and even the types of users you have to support, your BI strategy can include any or all of these methods.

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