Key Criteria for Effective OLAP
As we've learned in the previous sections, OLAP allows decision makers such as executives to intuitively, quickly, and flexibly manipulate operational data using familiar business terms, in order to provide analytical insight. For example, by using an OLAP system, users can slice and dice information along a customer dimension and view business metrics by product and through time. Reports can be defined from multiple perspectives that provide a high-level or detailed view of the performance of any aspect of the business. Users can navigate throughout their database by drilling down on a report to view elements at finer levels of detail or by pivoting to view reports from different perspectives. So what are the key criteria for achieving highly effective enterprise OLAP system?
Fast Response Time
When analyzing data, most users tend to have less tolerance for slow response. Long or unpredictable response time makes analysis tedious, resulting users simply choose not to explore data any longer. Therefore, fast response time, less than or equal to five seconds on average, is very important.
Fast Learning Time
User learning curve is important. If the OLAP solution requires more than a few hours of training to learn, users simply won't be willing to take more time to learn it. This may result that they will not adopt the OLAP solution, thereby leading to a waste of time and money the organization has put for launching this solution. The learning time should not exceed the maximum of 2.5 hours.
Wide Application Reach
How can an organization benefit from OLAP? Only when users can easily share business insights with other users, it can accelerate alignment around organization's goals. Typically, it should have a minimum of 500 users inside organization and beyond. And the OLAP solution must tailor to the full range of all user needs, providing the right level of functionality, the most appropriate user interface, and the most effective deployment options to its different users.
Limitless Environmental Reach
The OLAP deployment should not be restricted only to LANs and Intranets. Across multi-company and multi-country boundaries, an interactive Extranet solution guarantees that the OLAP solution will reach everyone in need.
Fast Time to Results
The longer it takes to deploy an OLAP solution (from prototyping to deployment), the greater it loses the opportunity of better decision making. The organization must be able to get their OLAP solution up and running as quickly as possible. Typically it is 12 weeks, for an enterprise OLAP solution.
During or after the OLAP solution is deployed, if it requires highly paid IT sources, this can lead to lengthy internal campaigns for sponsorship or fail before even it is deployed. The organization must be able to leverage the most from the existing resources and infrastructures to contain the cost of deployment.
Data Volume Requirements
The OLAP solution must be able to efficiently handle large volumes of data without slowing down user response time. A minimum of 10 million rows of input data is typically required for meaningful OLAP data exploration and analysis. It should provide right data to the right users at right time.