Friday, January 25, 2008

Microsoft TechDays 2008 - Portugal (Lisbon)

Dear Friends,
This post is only to inform you that next March 2008, it will take place the bigger Microsoft Conference in Portugal. Last year I was there, and it was amazing!!! If you can go there, don't hesitate, it will be very good for sure.

In the conference will be announced the new SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008. Download the agenda
Official Site:

Operational Risk - Societe General Fraud!

Dear Friends,
I was planning to write this post last week, but today It’s the right time to do that! And the reason is the Societe General… do you know what these two words mean? I confess that I didn’t know it, but it’s only the second bigger French bank, and today it’s notice in all newspapers of the world.

The Societe General Bank was victim of a “massive” fraud from an employee. The bank said the fraud was based on simple transactions, but concealed by "sophisticated and varied techniques". The losses are estimated around 5 billion Euros!! Too much zeros, but I will try:€…uuuauuuuu… see all the news in the following link:

How can be possible that only one employee makes several trades and no one else knows?! This men control the entire bank?! It’s very strange… but as Gilles Glicenstein BNP Paribas chief executive told in the above link, "there is still some information missing to understand what happened” and "the scale of the fraud is so large, there must be a complex explanation”
I initiate this post with this amazing, but real history, to write something about operational risk that I’m learning in my master BI degree. So, how these things could be possible? This Bank doesn’t have a Risk Management Unit?!

Operational risks are not only in a bank sector but in all activities, the risk is everywhere every time!! You have the risk to get fired! You have the risk of a car accident… Normally, and mainly in financial sector, all this operational losses, caused by people, systems, external factors or processes were hidden! And they were hidden because critical information could be dangerous for the health of a company. But I think that nowadays, this kind of information is not so dangerous for a company than the past, because the shareholders want TRANSPARENCY, and only with it, the shareholders put their money in the companies! And don’t forget that we are in a globalization, bad news in china can affect Europe, and bad news in Europe can affect China…
So, what is Operation Risk?!

“Operational Risk is defined as the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events. This definition includes legal risk, but excludes strategic and reputational risk.” In

Operational Risk nowadays it’s so important as credit risk and market risk, and for today I leave you with the picture below that I will describe with more detail in a next post:

So, This was the first post about RISK, I promise that I will be back tomorrow not only to write about RISK and write about my fantastic classes with the teacher Rui Gonçalves (SAS Portugal).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

BI Master - BI Architecture

Dear friends,
Today, I will show you the BI Architecture defined to my master degree (data warehouse class) that it’s also based in the project that I’m developing to my company. The objective is not explain in detail each module definition, but describe how I apply the BI architecture to my project. I suppose you already read a lot about this subjects like ETL, ODS, DW, Cube, BSC … I want to show you what I’m doing and I want to receive feedback from you to improve my work and to share knowledge between us.

The architecture defined for the project follow the Inmon approach, the 3 tier-architecture.
It was necessary to customize the ODS in order to satisfy one of the business requirements that is to keep the data imported dynamic. Keep data dynamic means that the business user administrator could change the data (from last year) directly to ODS when he needs. The reason is because some data from operational system must be corrected or because it has bad quality or there is an error. The data inside ODS is stored for one year.

The following image shows the relation between all modules and how they are integrated between itself.

1. Operational Systems (OS)
Operational Systems record details of business transactions in real time. It’s here where data is stored and will support data warehouse. These operational systems include data from external data sources like interest rates and exchange rates, and others…

2. Extract Transform and Load (ETL)
The ETL, Extract, Transform and Load data from Operational System into OLAP database.
There are two ETL processes in this architecture:

2.1 Makes the extraction of the data from OS, transform and integrate into the ODS.
a. Initial ETL

b. Daily process ETL
2.2. Makes the processing update of the cube.

3. Operational Data Store (ODS)
After the extraction, cleanness and integration of the data from the operational systems into ODS, it is necessary to include additionally calculations and aggregations to allow indicators to be generated dynamically to our OLAP cube in spite of create it static inside an ETL. Normally, all the calculations are made inside an ETL, but in this case the business requirements imply a customization. And these requirements are:

· Problems in financial instruments evaluation.
· Requests from managing entities to change positions
· Positions corrections
· Data in operational systems could be incorrect

4. Data Warehouse – OLAP Cube
In this module, is implemented the multi dimensional view of the new system. It will be created the famous cube that will enable the users to visualize business indicators from different perspectives. This cube is supported by an OLAP database and an OLTP database that will process the cube and update periodically the OLAP database, MOLAP.

5. Reports and Data Analysis
In this module will be available all the value, measurable and complete information that will be important to decision makers. Will be created static reports (pre-defined) and dynamic reports (Adhoc-reports) that allows the business users to create their own questions to the cube.

Feel free to make questions!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

BI Master - MSc UK Universities

Dear Friends,
As I told you lot of times in this blog, I’m currently attending a master BI degree here in Portugal. But I also was seeking for BI masters not only in Portugal, but also in UK. Following a request of my friend Amin, I’m writing today about the research I made before start my master degree.

In Portugal, ISCTE University is the winner for BI master degrees, perhaps in UK there are several candidates, and probably will be someone that disagree with me, but I hope to receive some feedback from you.
First of all you have a website that could be your first step to begin your research! The website is and has thousands of masters to see. Second, you must visit the website of British Council,

I’m very impressed with the organization of some universities in UK. It was a surprised for me the possibility of take the master degree by distance and to visit the University in the open days!

If you are outside UK and cannot stay much time there, you can take the master on your country by a specific web platform and with an instructor exclusive for you. The main disadvantages are the price, that is higher, and the time to take the master is the double of the normal one!!! But you could conciliate the master with a part-time job!

I selected the universities that you should take a look and see the master contents and the respective prospectus.

My friend subhash, we know that you attended your master degree in Greenwich University, so please give us some feedback about it, ok? eheheh...

And a curiosity, if someone are interested, it was here that I finished my degree some years ago in Birmingham (UK), at NewMan College on Socrates European Program!
If someone could send some feedback I will appreciate, because maybe I will return to UK soon…


Monday, January 7, 2008

BI Conference - Andy Neely in Portugal (ISCTE University)

Dear Friends,
As I told you before my University ISCTE, where I'm current attending my BI master degree, is the best Portugal University in this subject, and not only for the master contents but also the excellent knowledge and experience of the teachers.

And to comprove it, next 22 January 2008, the ISCTE will organize a conference inviting Mr. Andy Neely. He is Deputy Director of the ESRC/EPSRC AIM Research Initiative, Professor of Operations Strategy and Performance at Cranfield School of Management, and Visiting Professor of Operations Management at London Business School.

He's the author of these books:
Business Performance Measurement
(March 2002)

Getting the Measure of Your Business
(July 2002)

Automating Your Scorecard: The Balanced Scorecard Software Report
(October 2003)

Business Performance Measurement: Unifying Theory and Integrating Practice
(Only available next February 2008)

For these and other reasons the conference promises! If you are in Portugal or close, the registrations are opened! Come here and enjoin it!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Dear friends,
First of all, I want to desire you a happy new year and I hope all your dreams come true.
I have much ambition for the year of 2008 and I will try to achieve all or almost all the following objectives:

· Finish my BI master degree classes

· Take Microsoft BI tools certification
( )
· Take IETLS English Exam
( )
· Take TDWI certification directly in Amsterdam or Munique conferences
( )

The main purpose of these objectives is preparing my bags to start a new adventure outside Portugal. Currently I have some good offers to leave Portugal but I decided to wait a few more time, because I’m enjoying my current job and my master BI degree.

We cannot waste the chances the life give us, and in my case I accepted the offer to go to England to finish my degree and the offer to work in a European Commission (Milan-Italy), because I felt that if I not accepted that offers the life wouldn’t grant me others.
So… we must dream, help the others and have much ambition!!



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