A couple of weeks ago I posted the 40th birthday of the Relational Model.
Then yesterday I posted about Microsoft’s Gemini Excel add-in and how I was scared by letting users loose on a Line of Business application.
My fear is driven by the massively complex and changing data models that underpin these applications. Anyone who has had to dig under the hood of applications such as Dynamics GP or NAV will know that even within the basic product the data model is very complex. This complexity is driven by and made worse by the requirement that these applications are configurable and extensible so as to be all things to all people.
Some of this complexity in some applications can be hidden through clever APIs and views. Microsoft CRM does this by creating views that users are supposed to point to but even these can be very confusing and overly complex for all but the most data savvy.
So my first conclusion was that users must be protected from the big nasty beast that is the application data model and be pointed instead to the nice soft data warehouse/cube where clever consultants have wrapped the complexity in candy floss.
However, on reviewing some other notes I have made on Gemini I have come up with an off the cuff new idea.
Gemini seems to me to be very well suited to a star type schema. In addition to this from the VERY little I know about the world of cloud databases and massively parallel data processing they are also very effective at processing denormalised data.
So as a conclusion to this ramble I can envisage that the existence of Gemini will drive users to expect their business applications to present their data in a nice simple fashion and the existence of cloud data processing will force, through the nature of economics, business applications to flatten their data models and these 2 combined will force a sea change in the way Applications are written.