I have been working on Business Intelligence and OLAP technologies for more than 3 years, extensively. Initially the very sound of it, gives jitter or boredom, and it was a less favorite subject during my academic year. When I enter the workforce after my masters’, never did I expect to work on OLAP extensively as part of my new job. But with time, I soon find myself digging more into OLAP technologies and eventually, became a love affair, and till today resonates in my entrepreneurial pursuit. In fact, every enterprise products that I have developed on Microsoft Office, Exchange and SharePoint platforms integrate an inbuilt OLAP solution to analyze business data and generate reports, that fits every level of management and accounting requirements.
Okay, now to the purpose of this blog, the new release of ‘OLAP Statistics and Reporting tool for SharePoint list‘. For those of you, who are not aware of my products portfolio, I also have two other OLAP tools – one for Microsoft Outlook and the other for Microsoft Access. Each of this OLAP tool is designed to serve a purpose, which is to extract business intelligence out of the Outlook or Access data.
Before digging down more on the new OLAP tool for SharePoint, let me put forward the reasons on why these specific OLAP tools were developed in the first place.
For Outlook, there is hardly any specific OLAP tool that one can use to analyze Outlook data. To some extent, one can use Outlook views of presenting information in a more obvious way in folder, but it does not give you the summarized data that one needs often, to see broader trends based on aggregation, and to see these trends broken down by any number of variables. This leads to the development of what is now known as ‘OLAP Statistics and Reporting for Outlook‘.
For Access database, there is no inbuilt OLAP tool in Access that one can use to analyze aggregated and summarized data. Traditional query (Or OLTP) is slow in aggregation task, provides limited interactivity, and reporting is well suited to handle textual information mostly. Moreover, complex calculation are oftem difficult to implement. In short, there are major drawbacks with regards to answering, analysis and reporting with Access database. One can use Microsoft Excel to create an OLAP cube, and analyze it. But the process is cumbersome, and present a learning curve, for average workers and managers. The absence of a simple, and yet productive OLAP tool for Microsoft Access database leads to the development of what is now known as ‘OLAP Statistics and Reporting for Access‘.
OK, now coming to the new OLAP tool for SharePoint list. SharePoint can store business data in lists, such as meetings, time-sheets, contacts, tasks, announcements, sales transactions etc. The main purpose of storing it on SharePoint list is to enable sharing among team members in organizations, which is its selling point. However, one of its weak point is the absence of any inbuilt OLAP tool to analyze data in the list. Due to this limitation, often managers find themselves spending a lot of time and resource in exporting data to spreadsheet, and performing manual computation and parsing. Some even use specialized data professionals, web parts and a dozen different software packages, just to produce simple reports. Worst, if the report doesn’t have the required information, you will have to start over, wasting precious time.
As there is a time and expense involved in getting answers from SharePoint lists, a lot of business intelligence information often goes unused, due to the fact that, SharePoint is designed to store data, and not to help you analyze it. This leads to the development of ‘OLAP Statistics and Reporting for SharePoint‘, to let you configure OLAP cube from your SharePoint lists, and then analyze and create reports straightaway, out of the box.
Product Title: OLAP Statistics and Reporting for SharePoint
Home Page: http://www.assistmyteam.net/OLAPStatisticsSP/
Requirements: OLAP Statistics and Reporting for SharePoint works with WSS 2.0, 3.0, MOSS 2007 and the latest SharePoint 2010 Foundation and SharePoint 2010 Server. And yes, you need to have .NET framework 2.0 installed on the system to be able to play with my OLAP tool.
I have also put up a 9 minutes video demonstration to give you a brief walk-through on how to use OLAP Statistics and Reporting for SharePoint.