High competition for market control forces business owners to find new ways to improve business profitability and growth. Nowadays, a company becomes a winner in this competition if it knows how to manage information effectively. That is why more and more companies implement BI solutions.
A lot of businesses choose to build their BI solutions using OLAP technology. Tools based on OLAP cubes help to get maximum benefits from business data and develop the most effective strategy for the business development.
Advantages of OLAP
Using OLAP in business intelligence software helps to organize huge amounts of information in a form convenient for the end user and perform efficient data analysis. Let’s review this and other advantages of OLAP technology below.
High speed of data processing
The main advantage of OLAP is the speed of query execution. A correctly designed cube usually processes a typical user query within 5 seconds. Even if the warehouse contains tons of information, you can make a complex report using any kind of data from the warehouse in just a few minutes.
Multidimensional data representation
OLAP data is represented by cubes. Each edge of the cube contains certain attributes of an analyzed business process. Measures and dimensions define the cube axes in a multidimensional coordinate system. Such data structure allows users to see information from different points of view (slices). A cube slice is, in fact, a two-dimensional table, which is a clear and familiar way of data representation.
Cubes are built strictly hierarchically. It means that the data is arranged in a certain order, for instance, a year is divided into months, and a month is divided into days. You can see how the data is organized in OLAP cubes in Ranet demos that use Adventure Works database.
Using familiar business-expressions
The data in OLAP cubes reflects certain aspects of the company’s fiscal and economic activities. Instead of manipulating database table fields, the end user interacts with common business categories. That is why OLAP-based tools are very simple to use even for non-technical users. That is closely related to the next advantage.
Flat learning curve
Working with OLAP data is available to users without any technical background. Usually, end users don’t need any special training, which means saving money for the company.
Aggregated and detailed data
When working with OLAP, users first see the consolidated data. They can detail the data down to separate facts through “drill down” function and do the opposite using “drill up” function. Read about Drill down and other data analysis commands in Ranet OLAP in our blog post.
If the cubes you use support write-back function, you can analyze not only actual data but also create different “what-if” scenarios and change the data you work with while also ensuring the actual cube data is not overridden or lost.
All in all, using OLAP is a great way to simplify the analytical and reporting part of a company’s business processes. And the existence of powerful tools like Ranet OLAP that provide simple and easy-to-use interfaces designed specifically for working with OLAP data makes it easier for businesses to use it in business intelligence.