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Working with OLAP Data

After you’ve connected to an OLAP data source, you can use Excel data analysis features to make faster and more informed business decisions based on the OLAP data. In general, the summarizations created in the OLAP database give you varied perspectives on the data that matters the most.

For example, with a large number of individual data records that are not summarized, you can’t easily spot trends or business anomalies. Subtotals and worksheet functions help by grouping and summarizing data records in a more useful manner. But as you learned in earlier chapters, creating or revising subtotal groupings and worksheet functions can be a time-consuming process. To quickly spot trends and data anomalies, as well as quickly switch data analysis perspectives, you can instruct Excel to use PivotTable reports and PivotChart reports to summarize data records. When it comes to OLAP data, because the data is already summarized, less data needs to be retrieved by Excel when you create or change an OLAP-based PivotTable report or PivotChart report. Using Excel to analyze OLAP data lets you work with much larger amounts of data much more quickly than you could if the data was organized in a nonrelational or relational data source. Additionally, OLAP dimensions and levels such as Fiscal Year, Fiscal Quarter, West Region, Sales District, and so on, can be used to hierarchically organize and analyze summarized business data better than less intuitive field names in a flat series of data records. Hierarchical data allows you to ask more sophisticated questions of your data, enabling more complex business decisions in less time.


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