Connecting Microsoft Excel PivotTables to Oracle OLAP for Powerful Ad Hoc Query and Analysis

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Executive Summary

A masters-level course in Business Computing at the University of Applied Sciences incorporates the very interesting subject of Advanced Data Warehousing and Data Mining. The idea of the course is to provide light on designing and implementing a data warehouse using the Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB) in ROLAP and MOLAP implementations. In order to facilitate the data analysis section of the warehousing and mining course, the professor at the university wanted to have a solution that would allow his students to perform ad hoc query and analysis on dimensional data in Oracle 11g OLAP Option databases. The solution should also be able to allow creation of PivotTables in Microsoft Excel. For a long time now, Microsoft Excel has been accepted as a well-functioning Business Intelligence (BI) tool for ad hoc query and data analysis when it comes to businesses. Excel PivotTables makes use of the MDX query language to offer advanced, dashboard-like formatting and presentation options. This language is also able to provide cross-tab functionality to be able to present data in an orderly fashion. This way data is able to answer complex analytical questions. With such functionality, Excel allows students to slice, dice, pivot and gain meaningful insight from their Oracle OLAP data. Simba's MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP was used for the purpose. This is an easily installable client-side driver that allows direct and safe connectivity of data from Excel to Oracle.

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