I was reading a blog post on SDN by Gregory Misiorek entitled “Seven Steps to Accounting Nirvana with HANA“.  Gregory show how easy it is to pull ECC data into HANA in order to analyze using an Excel Pivot Table.  If you are considering HANA, this is worth a look.  Gregory’s conclusions are:

“Conclusion or the main benefits of doing HANA reporting in Excel Pivot:

1. No need to create custom reports at any intermediate step listed above.
2. Use simple pivot tool which comes with each excel installation “for free”.
3. Leverage column storage of HANA with ease of use of Excel to make millions of auditable records available to end user.
4. End users will never ask you to write another report after seeing this but it’s up to you if this is a benefit to you and to your customers.”

My interest in all of this of course is the underlying technology that makes this possible.  Excel communicates with a dimensional data source using the MDX query language.  If you are using Excel 2007 or Excel 2010, you need a data source that support the MDX 2005 query language.  Products like Essbase or Mondrian only support MDX 1999.  Products like SAP HANA, SAP BW, Microsoft Analysis Services, Teradata OLAP Connector, or Oracle Database OLAP support MDX 2005.  Since HANA supports the MDX 2005 query language as well as OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO), once the data is in HANA, it is just a matter of point and click.  In Gregory’s article, steps 1-6 are about getting the data into HANA.  Step 7 is the point and click part of analyzing the data in HANA.

Yes, it is that easy!  I will be presenting a session on how to analyze your HANA data in Excel at the Administration and Infrastructure 2012 Conference which runs Feb 28 to Mar 2, 2012 in Las Vegas.  Come by and let me show you how easy it is to use Excel for your ad hoc data analysis and reporting!