Extracting Intelligence from Your Data
Investments in separate line-of-business systems can often lead to "siloed"
databases that are difficult to correlate and analyze. Traditional approaches
to building business decision-support systems include: swapping
one relational reporting system for another, extracting and transforming (ETL) the data
into a centralized data warehouse, or purchasing a separate BI application on the promise
of more flexible, robust reporting. These approaches can be expensive, and
the results can be unpredictable. Excel pivot tables can be just as effective, but complex
Excel-based systems are difficult to maintain, and do not scale well for most data gathering and analysis
SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)
Microsoft® SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) provides a unified, fully-integrated
view of your business data to support online analytical processing (OLAP), key
performance indicators (KPI), and powerful data mining capabilities.
Analysis Services greatly reduces the amount of effort required to integrate data from multiple systems into
a unified, consistent format, and report against the
data using a variety of formats and techniques e.g mining the data for relationships,
or forecasting future results with predictive analytics. PCA
provides SQL Server Analysis Services consulting, and custom .NET application design and development services
to help you create a reliable and cost-effective approach to analyzing your business data.
SQL Reporting Services vs. Pivit Grids vs. SQL Server Analysis Services
|SQL Reporting Services
||SQL Analysis Services
- Developer-defined (canned)
- "Flat" view of data
- Track historical performance
- Identify variations from pre-defined goals (KPIs)
- User-defined (ad hoc)
- Group, Sort, Filter, Aggregate
- Narrow view of data to areas of interest
- Discover relationships and dependencies
- User-defined (ad hoc)
- "Correlative" view of data
- Find causation, predict
likely outcomes based upon patterns and trends
- Indicate where things are heading, and provide supporting criterion
Simple, Integrated View of Data
The data for common business functions — enterprise
resource planning (ERP), CRM, SCM, Inventory, Human Resources, Accounting and so on — is often maintained in separate applications, from
separate vendors, and each using different terminology, data schemas, and database engines. Business
decision makers often require an "integrated view" of their data to make informed decisions.
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services addresses this challenge through the use of Data Source
Views that allow the creation of analytical models against existing data structures.
Unified Dimensional Models and Perspectives create a single data view that can be exposed as virtual data marts to individual departments.
Intelligent View of Data
Most warehousing tools today build rigid hierarchical structures to allow analysts to drill up and down into the data.
While powerful, drilling up and down is not the only
form of analysis that can be performed. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services allows businesses
to build solutions that support flexible hierarchies, many-to-many relationships, and other dimension
types that allow for more advanced analytics.
Localized Analytics Experience
Businesses with operations that span languages must consolidate data into a single language
and currency in order for analysis to be valid, but this makes it more difficult for organizations
worldwide to use the solution. Thanks to a feature called Translations, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014
Analysis Services lets companies build a single solution that can localize values on the fly
depending on the user's location.
Most business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing solutions are snapshots in time that are updated
nightly or weekly. Real-time BI solutions exist but they tend to be very slow compared to snapshots.
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services gives businesses the ability to have real time or near
real time BI capabilities with snapshot-like speeds and minimal impact on production systems.