"SQL manipulation

iasoniason Member Posts: 20 Contributor II
edited May 2019 in Help
What would you suggest as an optimal workflow to analyze customer data from an SQL database?
There is no analysis server available. Only sql server, excel, rapidminer and any other free tools you might suggest. I might also have access to a Crystal Reports license.
The case is as follows:
There are around 15 tables with appropriate relations, containing useful and useless information.
Naturally, some aggregations and joins will be needed. ie drop the customer id, but not before joining with the table containing the socioeconomic data. Also supplier data are mostly not needed but margins, annual revenue and payment terms per supplier might be. Those are just random examples.

Should I de-normalize the data using Excel and SQL scripting and then import one big flat file  to Rapidminer, or is there some way to connect to the db and do all the operations within RM?
Would a reporting tool (such as Crystal) be helpful?
Would you suggest any other software to manipulate the data, join tables, drop unwanted attributes etc before importing to RM? (preferably a free or low cost one since budget is tight)
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