BI Documenter looks cool

One of the things I love to do, is connect with fellow bloggers and chat over mutual interests.  It sounds silly, since there are like 100 million blogs or something, but there’s a certain camaraderie and shared identification amoungst bloggers.  I’ve always had fantastic meetups from the UK to OZ to the good ole USA.

While in Sydney I had the good fortune to connect with the folks behind the product, BI Documenter.  John, Richard, and Cyril are the principals involved in building what looks to be a sweet little product.  It’s a great concept:  collect and process the metadata from SQL Server, MSAS, Integration Services, Reporting Services and build some useful documentation about your BI Solution.

They have a live set of these docs here:
 but here’s a snapshot of the main table of contents once its done its slurping.

How many times have we wanted shoot ourselves when the business users ask some simple, straightforward questions about their reports because we’ve explained it about one hundred times.  Does net sales take into account product returns?   If you’re a MSFT (grumble) solution, you don’t have to answer these questions again and again and again and again.  You can provide documentation that will provide these answers for your users.  From what I saw, the navigation will be very familiar and similar to a “Help” system.

I can’t tell you how many more times the $$ of their license I would pay to have this for past Oracle engagements.  If you’re a MSFT shop, definitely check them out.  They even have a FREE VERSION which works on just one data source (SQL Server).

Disclosure:  I haven’t used it, and probably won’t because my day to day life keeps me in non-MSFT BI land.

3 thoughts on “BI Documenter looks cool

  1. Nilesh Jethwa

    Documenting your meta-data is a very important aspect in every BI-non-BI project. There have been tools available for generating schema documentation which is nothing but meta-data reporting.

  2. mark madsen

    I need to check this out. One of the biggest problems with the entire Microsoft BI and DI product lines is their near total lack of metadata. There’s almost nothing there, and what little you do have is not integrated across tools. This applies to the new PerformancePoint BI product release too, so we’re not seeing any metadata love from them any time soon.

    Good for these guys for working on one of the key problem areas facing people trying to use Microsoft BI tools.

  3. Tim Parrott

    BI documenter can be purchased over the internet from in the US with Paypal or any Credit Card. If you want the full Reporting, Integration and Analysis Services and Database Documenting tool you must get the Single User Enterprise version. There is a full 15 day try before you buy version.

    I used it with a client who had an extensive BI application with no documentation. Running the BI Documenter 2, it extracted and presented all the salient data within two minutes. It takes a snapshot first and then generates the HTML documents. The next step for me is to write a management overview and reference the HTML documents within it. BI Documenter 2 leaves you to develop the strategy while it sorts out the detail.

    It has saved my client hundreds of pounds in consultancy fees to decipher his application.

    It is easy to install; I have installed it twice now with no issues.

    It is easy to use. The only shortcoming is that it locked up when it tried to read two corrupt tables, however it was this feature that identified what problems had stopped the customer’s integration package from working. There is s facility to stop the application cleanly.


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