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Becoming a Business Intelligence consultant

I am an IT professional with 6 years of experience in networking and telecommunications. I resigned from my current employer in 6-2001 to pursue my Masters Degree in Information Systems with Data Warehousing and CRM as majors. I will not complete this degree until 3-2003, and my goal is to work as a consultant in business intelligence. My question is what do I need to do to gain more knowledge in this area, besides attending graduate school?

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The best way to gain knowledge about DW and CRM is to actually do some hands-on assignments. The concepts behind constructing a DW are simple. However, how business community uses these data repositories to their business advantage is the real challenge and that comes with experience ? balanced business processes and technology knowledge. CRM is another area that requires good understanding of human psychology, behavior polished with Business mindset and the data warehousing knowledge. In some big schools, the office of Alumni Development and Public Affairs are good 'CRM' learning places ? Targeting donors, soliciting, and fund raising. They are very creative. Imagine, they sell no material-objects but still can solicit millions from their donors. So they must be doing something right. The best way to learn CRM and DW is to work on several projects, may be small, because each organization builds and uses DW differently. So my advice is to keep a balance between DW technology and Business coupled with few projects. Telecommunication industry tends to have large data warehouses. Exploit your telecommunication experience. Good Luck in your graduate program.

This was first published in March 2002

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