7 Tips for a Successful SAS ETL Process
08/25/2015 by Maria Nicholson
As a kid, it was fun to take a pack of playing cards, lean one against the other and level by level see how high and fantastic a structure could be built before a slight nudge or breeze or one additional card disrupted the delicate balance and caused it to come crashing down. Not exactly the image you want evoking with regards to your business intelligence implementation, right?
Unfortunately, this is what will come to mind if you place your end-user applications atop a shaky ETL foundation. Below I’ve pulled together a few points to consider to help ensure sound construction and BI success.
ETL isn’t sexy but a slick user interface is. Therefore, it is tempting to be far more interested in how the BI reporting applications look and devote the majority of resources to this effort with the end result being panic because the content is flawed.
No matter how great an application’s user experience is, if the data are wrong the UI won’t matter.
Poorly defined and inconsistent business rules lead to confusion and reporting errors. The time must be taken to consolidate rules and translate them into usable/reportable fields in the data model.
Manual processing introduces errors and time delays. It often also means that the staff will need to work off-hours and weekends to complete these steps.
ETL process management and modeling tools such as SAS DI Studio and SAS Enterprise Guide can be really helpful in building your ETL solution. Or you could build the whole ETL process using Base SAS. No matter which software or packages you chose it will never eliminate the need for good design and planning.
You will need a good data model provides business intelligence, in particular, self-service BI, but I think they apply in general.
Do not wait until data are loaded into production before reviewing the values. That results in end-users or customers finding data errors, which could lead to loss of business.
You must allocate adequate budget and appropriate staff to ETL build and maintenance.
It is important to realize that ETL is much harder and more resource-intensive than it may seem. Having an experienced ETL design and implementation team and the correctly sized infrastructure in place to handle the processing load is money well spent.
These steps should help prevent your team from building a house of cards.