Kimball University: Extreme Status Tracking For Real Time Customer Analysis - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Information Management
News
6/21/2010
05:41 PM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
How Cloud Can Streamline Business Workflow
Jul 11, 2017
In order to optimize your utilization of cloud computing, you need to be able to deliver reliable ...Read More>>

Kimball University: Extreme Status Tracking For Real Time Customer Analysis

Customer interactions create a wealth of timely data that marketing departments are eager to exploit. The customer status fact table provides a central switchboard for using this fast-moving data.

Ralph Kimball
We live in a world of extreme status tracking, where our customer-facing processes are capable of producing continuous updates on the transactions, locations, online gestures, and even the heartbeats of customers. Marketing folks and operational folks love this data because real-time decisions can be made to communicate with the customer. They expect these communications to be driven by a hybrid combination of traditional data warehouse history and up-to-the-second status tracking. Typical communications decisions include whether to recommend a product or service, or judge the legitimacy of a support request, or contact the customer with a warning.

As designers of integrated enterprise data warehouses (EDWs) with many customer-facing processes, we must deal with a variety of source operational applications that provide status indicators or data-mining-based behavioral scores we would like to have as part of the overall customer profile. These indicators and scores can be generated frequently, maybe even many times per day; we want a complete history that may stretch back months or even years. Though these rapidly changing status indicators and behavior scores are logically part of a single customer dimension, it is impractical to embed these attributes in a Type 2 slowly changing dimension. Remember that Type 2 perfectly captures history, and requires you to issue a new customer record each time any attribute in the dimension changes. Kimball Group has have long pointed out this practical conflict by calling this situation a "rapidly changing monster dimension." The solution is to reduce the pressure on the primary customer dimension by spawning one or more "mini-dimensions" that contain the rapidly changing status or behavioral attributes. We have talked about such mini-dimensions for at least a decade.

In our real-time, extreme status tracking world, we can refine the tried-and-true mini-dimension design by adding the following requirements. We want a "customer status fact table" that is...

  • a single source that exposes the complete, unbroken time series of all changes to customer descriptions, behavior, and status;
  • minutely time-stamped to the second or even the millisecond for all such changes;
  • scalable, to allow new transaction types, new behavior tags, and new status types to be added constantly, and scalable to allow a growing list of millions of customers each with a history of thousands of status changes;
  • accessible, to allow fetching the current, complete description of a customer and then quickly exposing that customer's extended history of transactions, behavior and status; and
  • usable as the master source of customer status for all fact tables in the EDW.

Previous
1 of 3
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll