Published in Solutions Integrator by Joe Devlin Click here for list of articles
  Oct 15, 1998 Why is Microsoft is making OLAP a standard part of SQL/Server?
SummaryMain ArticleWinning StrategyRocky Mountain High OLAPComponents

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The arrival of SQL-Server 7.0 provides an awesome opportunity to bring decision support to a vast new market that previously couldn't afford OLAP solutions.

Richard Creeth, Creeth, Richman & Assoc.



Glossary of DataWarehousing and OLAP Terminology

  • Data cube -- A datacube is a small, multidimensional data warehouse that is built into an analysis tool.
  • Data mining -- Data mining is the running of automated routines that search through data organized in a warehouse. They look for patterns in order to point you to areas that you should be addressing.
  • 'Data mart -- A small, departmental data warehouse.
  • OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing) -- Tools that extract data from data warehouses go by a variety of names: OLAP, ROLAP (Relational On-Line Analytical Processing), multi-dimensional analysis tools, and decision support systems being the most common ones. All provide the ability to do rapid analysis of multiple simultaneous factors, something that relational databases can't do.
  • Data warehouse -- A data set and routines to retrieve data. A data warehouse is optimized so that complex, multi-faceted information can be retrieved much more quickly than relational databases allow.
  • Multidimensional Thinking --"Until recently, most managers believed that the more information they had, the better the decisions they could make no matter what that information was. But because some business activities have a disproportionate impact on the company's financial statements, it follows that some chunks of information are significantly more important as well. We call these chunks of information sweet spots." Paul Hill, Cognos vice president, Strategic Partners and Marketing Programs Managers discover business trends and anomalies by studying various combinations and permutations of the information available. Sales per quarter by salesperson. Costs per product line by region. Units shipped on time per city per warehouse by air. This is what is meant by "multidimensional thinking." And depending on the number of customers, products, regions, and other dimensions, managers can easily end up with hundreds of thousands of different combinations of results to explore. What's the best way to get customers to buy these new fangled tools? Teach em where and when to use them. Cognos publishes a series of books, CDs and training courses called the "The Multidimensional Manager". "Education has proved to be the best lead generator possible" Paul Hill told us. "The book contains vital insights into how business works, how information drives business, and how decision makers can master information to become multidimensional managers. A multidimensional manager is one who develops X-ray vision into all the factors driving costs and profitability, and who has superior ROI characteristics compared to traditional managers." Those interested in the book or CD can order it through Cognos's web page.
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