Business Intelligence Architect: Defining the Role

Are you considering a career as a BI Architect? You have made an excellent choice. Business Intelligence Architects are some of the leading minds in business and information management.

They use data components and information management systems to organize data and apply technology that presents data as usable information. To understand the role, we will take a brief look the basic components of BI Architecture, the role of the BI Architect in data modeling, data warehousing, and ETL, educational requirements, and career outlook.

Data Components

To understand the role of a BI Architect, you must understand basic components BI Architecture environment. Data components include data sources that business and financial leaders, as well as other end users' access and analyze to meet organizational objectives. Selecting the right data is just as important and developing systems to manage or present it. Criteria for selecting data sources include the data source – structured or unstructured, the data quality, and the granularity of the data source.

Information Management Components

The Information management BI architectural component transforms raw data into uniform and logically information appropriate for use within BI tools. This component normally includes data integration, data cleansing, and the creation of data dimensions and business rules that conform to predefined architectural guidelines. This component may also define structures for data modeling or data warehousing.

Technology Components

BI architecture uses the technology component as the presentation layer of the process. Data is transformed into information and presented to business users for analysis. The technology component includes BI tools used within an organization as well as the supporting IT infrastructure –database software, hardware, as well as networking devices. Many BI application can be integrated with the overall architecture including but not limited to: ad hoc query, data mining and data modeling, online analytical processing (OLAP), reporting, as well as business intelligence dashboards and performance scorecards.

While there are many roles that a Business Intelligence Architect may assume, current job postings indicate that data modeling, data warehousing, and ETL are the most sought after skills.

Extract, Transform, Load

Extract Transform and Load (ETL) is the traditional approach for handling data warehousing and analytic tasks. To complete this process, BI architect may develop in house solutions or employ custom solutions like Panoply with its cloud-based data warehouse architecture that offer end-to-end data management-as-a-service that can extract, transform and load data for analysis.

Data Modeling

Data modeling tackles what the BI Architect needs from data sources, including the format of the data, and how it relates to other data elements. BI Architects leverage data modeling to organize data sources and the actual data to minimize the cost of storage, replication, as well as mitigate the need to build a data warehouse.

Data Warehousing

Data warehousing often involves analyzing summary data or combining data from multiple systems. To facilitate this process data extracted from multiple sources are loaded into a data warehouse. BI Architects use data warehousing to help with cross functional analysis, summarized data, and provide a singular version a "pure" data source across the entire organization.

Job Requirements

Job requirements will vary and are based on the industry and specific organizational needs. Technically speaking, most BI Architects will have the at least five years or more experience delivering Business Intelligence solutions, be fluent in ETL technology such as SSIS, DataStage, Talend, CRON scripting, Perl, and a solid BI Technology background that includes SSRS, SSAS, Tableau, or MicroStrategy, just to name a few.

On the business side of things, BI Architects should possess solid analytical and problem-solving skills, demonstrate strong presentation and collaboration skills, and the ability to communicate all aspects of the process with peers as well as end users.

Skills, Training, and Education

Aspiring BI architects in the business information sector should complete a variety of courses in the business industry. Classes help you to learn how technologies affect business organizations and why the BI architect role is important to an organization's success. Classes that cover algorithm design and programming basics, are required learning especially if you want to successfully produce systems that meet your organization's needs.

Hands-on experience is often a required part of education and training. Look for internships in your industry of interest. Doing so will help you tune your technical and business skills as a Business Intelligence Architect.

Career opportunities - current salaries, future outlook for the role

As a Business Intelligence Architect, you may find work as an independent consultant, or as an employee. Opportunities are available to match your work style. According to, the average Business Intelligence Architect salary is $108,000. Depending on location, education, and experience, salaries can be higher or lower.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Computer and Information Science, has seen a 24% increase in growth and demand should continue to rise as organizations demand more ways to access and use data that drives decision making as well as profits.

Business Intelligence is the lifeblood of organizational decision making. Managing data sources and transforming it into trusted information for use in analysis is where skilled and experienced BI Architects are priceless commodities. Are you ready to shine?

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