A large financial institution customer was recently relating how BI reporting was not the end point of their performance analysis.  In fact, it was often just a starting point for follow-on ad hoc analysis using a multi-dimensional BI client such as is enabled by Simba’s “MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP”.  Let’s look at why.

There are three degrees of BI reporting responsiveness needed at this institution’s division:

  • Some BI reporting is very static.  It’s generated by their IT department monthly, and doesn’t change much from month to month. It might have even been set up by expensive consultants who were rarely on-site.
  • Another kind of reporting needs changes almost every month.  An example is some regular reports that are given to the board monthly.  The board often wants modifications to these reports for next month.  They might want different reporting detail, summarization, or times series comparisons.  However, their IT department was not in a timely way able make changes every month using their large BI system that requires expensive expertise or consultants.  For this, the business analysts resorted to an ad hoc query tool like Excel PivotTables hot-connecting to their Oracle OLAP multi-dimensional data via Simba’s “MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP”.
  • Finally, there are ad hoc reports done for daily needs.  This included custom queries requested after board meetings that were needed in just a couple of days.  This situation absolutely demanded an ad hoc query method.  Again, Excel hot-connected via “MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP” was used.

So, two of the three kinds of BI reporting at this division evoked requests for follow-on, ad hoc queries.  BI reporting is not the end point, but the starting point that stimulates deeper enterprise performance questions that must be answered by timely additional ad hoc queries.