OLAP Analysis

OLAP Analysis:

Imagine an organization that manufactures and sells goods in several States of USA which employs hundreds of employees in its manufacturing, sales and marketing division etc. In order to manufacture and sell this product in profitable manner, the executives need to analyse (OLAP analysis) the data on the product and think about various possibilities and causes for a particular event like loss in sales, less productivity or increase in sales over a particular period of the year.

During the OLAP analysis, the top executives may seek answers for the following: 

1. Number of products manufactured.

2. Number of products manufactured in a location.

3. Number of products manufactured on time basis within a location.

4. Number of products manufactured in the current year when compared to the previous year.

5. Sales Dollar value for a particular product.

6. Sales Dollar value for a product in a location.

7. Sales Dollar value for a product in a year within a location.

8. Sales Dollar value for a product in a year within a location sold or serviced by an employee.

OLAP tools help executives in finding out the answers, not only to the above mentioned measures, even for the very complex queries by allowing them to slice and dice, drill down from higher level to lower level summarized data, rank, sort, etc.

Example of OLAP Analysis Report:

Time Dimension IdLocation Dimension IdProduct Dimension IdOrganization Dimension IdSales DollarDateTimeStamp
11100001110001/1/2005 11:23:31 AM
3110000117501/1/2005 11:23:31 AM
11100001210001/1/2005 11:23:31 AM
3110000127501/1/2005 11:23:31 AM

In the above example of OLAP analysis, data can be sliced and diced, drilled up and drilled down for various hierarchies like time dimension, location dimension, product dimension, and organization dimension. This would provide the topmost executives to take a  decision about the product performance in a location/time/organization. In OLAP reports, Trend analysis can be also made by comparing the sales value of a particular product over several years or quarters.


Business Intelligence Tools

Business Intelligence Tools:

Business Intelligence Tools help to gather, store, access and analyze corporate data to aid in decision-making. Generally these systems will illustrate business intelligence in the areas of customer profiling, customer support, market research, market segmentation,
product profitability, statistical analysis, inventory and distribution analysis.

With Business Intelligence Tools, various data like customer related, product related, sales related, time related, location related, employee related etc. are gathered and analysed based on which important strategies or rules are formed and goals to achieve their target are set. These decisions are very efficient and effective in promoting an Organisation’s growth.

Since the collected data can be sliced across almost all the dimensions like time,location, product, promotion etc., valuable statistics like sales profit in one region for the current year can be calculated and compared with the previous year statistics.

Popular Business Intelligence Tools:

Tool NameCompany Name
Business ObjectsBusiness Objects
Microsoft Reporting ServicesMicrosoft
CrystalBusiness Objects


Advantages of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence:

Business Intelligence is a technology based on customer and profit oriented models that reduces operating costs and provide increased profitability by improving productivity, sales, service and helps to make decision making capabilities at no time. Business Intelligence Models are based on multi dimensional analysis and key performance indicators (KPI) of an enterprise.

Business Intelligence applications that are based on Business Intelligence Models are created by Business Intelligence software which provides the aggregated details about suppliers, customers, internal activities, business to business transactions to the managers or whoever needs it to take better corporate decisions.

Many business questions or situations need to be analyzed in order to achieve the target of an enterprise with the help of several managers or executives in each cadre. Below are some of the samples of these questions.

» Business Intelligence in Finance:

What is the net income, expenses, gross profit, and net profit for this quarter/year?

» Business Intelligence in Accounts:

What is the sales amount this month and what is the outstanding pending payment?

» Business Intelligence in Purchase:

Who is the vendor to be contacted to purchase products?

» Business Intelligence in Production:

How many products are manufactured in each production unit today/weekly/monthly?

» Business Intelligence in Sales:

How many products have been sold in each area today/weekly/monthly?

» Business Intelligence in Quality:

How many products have been defective today/weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly?

» Business Intelligence in Service:

Are the customers satisfied with the quality?

These business intelligence questions are related with why, what, how, when, and business intelligence reports (olap reports) are useful in providing solutions to the above questions by means of reporting, score cards, balance score cards that are helpful in managerial decisions.


ETL Tool – Informatica – Part 2

Power Exchange:

Informatica Power Exchange as a stand alone service or along with Power Center, helps organizations leverage data by avoiding manual coding of data extraction programs. Power Exchange supports batch, real time and changed data capture options in main frame (DB2, VSAM, IMS etc.), mid range (AS400 DB2 etc.,), and for relational databases (oracle, sql server, db2 etc) and flat files in unix, linux and windows systems.

Power Channel:

This helps to transfer large amount of encrypted and compressed data over LAN, WAN, through Firewalls, transfer files over FTP, etc.

Meta Data Exchange:

Metadata Exchange enables organizations to take advantage of the time and effort already invested in defining data structures within their IT environment when used with Power Center. For example, an organization may be using data modeling tools, such as Erwin, Embarcadero, Oracle designer, Sybase Power Designer etc for developing data
models. Functional and technical team should have spent much time and effort in creating the data model’s data structures(tables, columns, data types, procedures, functions, triggers etc). By using meta data exchange, these data structures can be imported into power center to identify source and target mappings which leverages time and effort. There is no need for Informatica developer to create these data structures once again.

Power Analyzer:

Power Analyzer provides organizations with reporting facilities. PowerAnalyzer makes accessing, analyzing, and sharing enterprise data simple and easily available to decision makers. PowerAnalyzer enables to gain insight into business processes and develop business intelligence.

With PowerAnalyzer, an organization can extract, filter, format, and analyze corporate information from data stored in a data warehouse, data mart, operational data
store, or other data storage models. PowerAnalyzer is best with a dimensional data warehouse in a relational database. It can also run reports on data in any
table in a relational database that do not conform to the dimensional model.

Super Glue:

Superglue is used for loading metadata in a centralized place from several sources. Reports can be run against this superglue to analyze meta data.

Power Mart:

Power Mart is a departmental version of Informatica for building, deploying, and managing data warehouses and data marts. Power center is used for corporate enterprise data warehouse and power mart is used for departmental data warehouses like data marts. Power Center supports global repositories and networked repositories and it can be connected to several sources.  Power Mart supports single repository and it can be connected to fewer sources when compared to Power Center. Power Mart can extensible grow to an enterprise implementation and it is easy for developer productivity through a code-less environment.

Note:This is not a complete tutorial on Informatica. We will add more Tips and Guidelines on Informatica in near future. Please visit us soon to check back. To know more about Informatica, contact its official website www.informatica.com


ETL Tool – Informatica – Part 1


Informatica is a powerful ETL tool from Informatica Corporation, a leading provider of enterprise data integration software and ETL software.

The important Informatica Components are:

  • Power Exchange
  • Power Center
  • Power Center Connect
  • Power Exchange
  • Power Channel
  • Metadata Exchange
  • Power Analyzer
  • Super Glue

In Informatica, all the Metadata information about source systems, target systems and transformations are stored in the Informatica repository. Informatica’s Power Center Client and Repository Server access this repository to store and retrieve metadata.

Note: To know more about Metadata and its significance, please click here.

Source and Target:

Consider a Bank that has got many branches throughout the world. In each branch data may be stored in different source systems like oracle, sql server, terradata, etc. When the Bank decides to integrate its data from several sources for its management decisions, it may choose one or more systems like oracle, sql server, terradata, etc. as its data warehouse target. Many organisations prefer Informatica to do that ETL process, because
Informatica is more powerful in designing and building data warehouses. It can connect to several sources and targets to extract meta data from sources and targets, transform and load the data into target systems.

Guidelines to work with Informatica Power Center:

Repository: This is where all the metadata information is stored in the Informatica suite. The Power Center Client and the Repository Server would access this repository to retrieve, store and manage metadata.

Power Center Client: Informatica client is used for managing users, identifying source and target systems definitions, creating mapping and mapplets, creating sessions and run workflows etc.

Repository Server: This repository server takes care of all the connections between the repository and the Power Center Client.

Power Center Server: Power Center server does the extraction from source and then loading data into targets.

Designer: Source Analyzer, Mapping Designer and Warehouse Designer are tools reside within the Designer wizard.

Source Analyzer is used for extracting metadata from source systems.

Mapping Designer is used to create mapping between sources and targets. Mapping is a pictorial representation about the flow of data from source to target.

Warehouse Designer is used for extracting metadata from target systems or metadata can be created in the Designer itself.

Data Cleansing: The PowerCenter’s data cleansing technology improves data quality by validating, correctly naming and standardization of address data. A person’s address may  not be same in all source systems because of typos  and postal code, city name may not match with address. These errors can be corrected by using data cleansing process and standardized data can be loaded in target systems (data warehouse).

Transformation: Transformations help to transform the source data according to the requirements of target system. Sorting, Filtering, Aggregation, Joining are some of the examples of transformation. Transformations ensure the quality of the data being loaded into target and this is done during the mapping process from source to target.

Workflow Manager: Workflow helps to load the data from source to target in a sequential manner. For example, if the fact tables are loaded before the lookup tables, then the target system will pop up an error message since the fact table is violating the foreign key validation. To avoid this, workflows can be created to ensure the correct flow of data from source to target.

Workflow Monitor: This monitor is helpful in monitoring and tracking the workflows created in each Power Center Server.

Power Center Connect: This component helps to extract data and metadata from ERP systems like IBM’s MQSeries, Peoplesoft, SAP, Siebel etc. and other third party applications.

Power Center Exchange: This component helps to extract data and metadata from ERP systems like IBM’s MQSeries, Peoplesoft, SAP, Siebel etc. and other third party applications.


Next ⇒ ETL Tool – Informatica – Part 2


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