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Data Research DPU for Evaluation of Information Technology

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Ovum Evaluates:OLAP

by Mary Hope, Madan Sheina, David Wells and Eric Woods


See order form for price!

This product is available in Decision Maker, and Decision Maker Plus+ formats. See below for details.

What is OLAP?

As a decision maker, on-line analytical processing (OLAP) enables you to manipulate the information that is available throughout your organisation, testing hypotheses and getting answers to business questions.

OLAP tools empower you to manipulate information interactively, asking the questions that are relevant to your business area. You can base your questions on business perspectives such as geography, time and product, giving you just the analysis you need.

Harness your data and improve your business decisions

Decision-making is at the heart of running any organisation. Improving your decision-making is not an option – it is an imperative. Within most organisations there is a wealth of data locked up in operational and legacy sources. Harnessing this data as information through analysis that is relevant to your job function, using multiple perspectives, can give your organisation the edge in an increasingly competitive business environment.

For organisations already using OLAP tools or considering their adoption, the question is not which tool to choose, but which selection of tools will best complement each other to meet the often diverse requirements of your different business areas. As cleansed data sources such as data warehouses become more prevalent, the value of OLAP analysis is constantly increasing.

Guaranteeing you a "best-fit" solution to your OLAP needs

Ovum Evaluates: OLAP, the latest report in the Ovum Evaluates series, helps you to choose the right combination of OLAP tools for your business needs and anticipate how the developing OLAP market and evolving product base will affect your current and future decisions.

The decision-making process within organisations is greatly improved by interactive access to high quality information, but with the OLAP tools market in a state of turmoil, choosing the right tools is increasingly difficult.

Ovum Evaluates: OLAP enables you to:

  • match your needs with our tool profiles ensuring a best-fit solution;
  • determine the support needed by your users;
  • construct a profile of OLAP use in your organisation;
  • promote the use of OLAP throughout your organisation.

Microsoft: changing the OLAP market

The entry of Microsoft into the OLAP market, bundling SQL Server OLAP Services ("Plato") with the release of SQL Server 7, is raising questions for vendors and users alike. Ovum Evaluates: OLAP answers asks the questions that you face:

  • Just how good is Microsoft's OLAP engine?
  • As a user, are you paying high prices for functionality that is available at lower cost from Microsoft?
  • Will Microsoft monopolise the market, forcing other vendors out?
  • Will changes in the market even cheaper versions of the Microsoft product appear on the market and how will this affect existing vendors with complementary products?
  • What market opportunities are emerging for vendors?

What makes Ovum’s evaluations different?

Outstanding analysis - written by experts who continuously analyse this topic, our evaluations are more in-depth than any other research on the market today;

Vendor independent - because Ovum funds all the research itself, you can be sure that the information is independent, unbiased, clear-sighted and objective;

Value added - at first sight, many OLAP tools appear similar in the functionality they offer. Ovum's evaluations go much further than just providing a simple checklist of product functionality. Our evaluation methodology allows you to cross-compare products and differentiate each product on the factors that really matter;

More than that, Ovum Evaluates: OLAP provides you with an evaluation guide, taking you step-by-step through the evaluation process, and enabling you to fully understand our conclusions..

The 8 Key Dimensions of Ovum's Evaluation Methodology

  1. End user functionality
    How easy is it for casual users to find and use previously created analysis ? What support is provided for report distribution and subscription?
  2. Building the business model
    Does the tool enable expert users to build a complex multidimensional business model?
  3. Advanced analytical power
    What in-built support does the tool provide for complex analysis?
  4. Web support
    Can the tool be used to access and create models via the Web?
  5. Management
    How easy is it to manage OLAP infrastructure across the enterprise ?
  6. Adaptability
    Can the tool adapt to changing business requirements? How does the tool ensure that the data sources, models, reports and metadata are all synchronised?
  7. Performance tunability
    What are the tuning options for optimising response time and minimising load time?
  8. Customisation
    What support is available to customise and develop applications?

Who should read this report?

Business Managers and Business Analysts
who need to know how the data available within their organisations can be captured and analysed to provide maximum decision support value to a variety of business areas. Ovum's evaluation service offers guidance on what tools are best suited for what purpose and what information infrastructure is required to make best use of your OLAP tools.

Corporate IT and Project Manager

who need a full picture of the OLAP market and what combination of tools will provide an enterprise solution that meets corporate needs.

Tool Vendors and Marketing Directors
If you are an OLAP tool vendor or Marketing Director you need reliable and detailed information on what your competitors are doing. If you are a vendor of other data warehousing products the report will help you make the right partnership decisions.

Application Vendors
As OLAP functionality is increasingly being embedded in applications targeted at specific vertical and horizontal industry issues, application vendors need to be aware of the pros and cons of choosing different OLAP tools to embed in their products.

Systems Integrators, Value Added Resellers and Consultants
Providing 95% of the visibility of the data warehouse, OLAP tools are an important aspect of any data warehousing solution developed for clients. Ovum Evaluates: OLAP provides a clear picture of how the products compare.


OLAP fundamentals

  • Using OLAP to make better decisions
  • How to choose the right OLAP tool/s
  • The anatomy of an OLAP tool

Guide to the evaluations

  • Guide to the evaluations

Briefing papers

Quarterly updates will be provided to purchasers of the Decision Maker Plus service. The first briefing paper will be sent out in January 1999.

Summary of the evaluations

  • Summary of the evaluations

Updated as new evaluations are released.


WhiteLight Systems WhiteLight
Brio Technology Brio Enterprise
Applix Applix TM1 v7.1
Hyperion Solutions Essbase
Business Objects BusinessObjects
Cognos PowerPlay
Seagate Software Holos
Information Advantage DecisionSuite
Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 OLAP Services
Microstrategy DSS Product Suite
Oracle Oracle Express Development Tools
Gentia Software Gentia Business Intelligence Solution

Purchasers of Decision Maker PLUS+ will also receive additional evaluations of significant OLAP products during their subscription.

Value-added Guidance

As well as giving you a concise picture of product functionality,describing in depth the support each of these products provides, against the 8 dimensions of our methodology, our detailed 28-page evaluations also give you the facts on:

  • Components of the products
  • Architectural options they support
  • Unique features of each tool
  • Vendor plans for future enhancements

On the basis of these facts, our expert analysts give you their opinion on the strengths and limitations of each product.

Ovum Evaluates: OLAP - Two options to suit your needs!

Decision Maker

Is your organisation embarking on the selection process for a new tool? Are you involved in making the decision? If you need to make and justify the right product choice within strict deadlines, Ovum's Decision Maker package is for you. You will receive:

  • All current Product Evaluations -we evaluate the leading products in the market, helping you to make a decision that is right for your current and future needs.
  • Guide to Evaluations -to help you get the most from our detailed evaluations, our guide describes the criteria used and explains the approach taken.
  • Summary of the evaluations - a quick and easy-to-use summary comparing the functionality of all products evaluated.
  • Everything you need to know to back up your decision - describing the state of the art - to help you choose the right strategy and the right tool for your company

Decision Maker PLUS+

If you need regularly updated product information and market news that keeps pace with current developments, then Decision Maker PLUS+is for you. In addition to all the elements of Decision Maker , you will receive:

  • Product Evaluations - continuously updated for a whole year. As new releases become available, we will update our product evaluations to keep them current. We will also evaluate significant new products as they are released.
  • Annual Market Forecast - Ovum's expert analysts forecast market development, predicting how sections of the market will grow or decline, and identifying the key factors behind this movement. Ovum's Annual Forecast provides you with the foresight you need to plan your business strategy.
  • Quarterly Update - an update on product and market developments to ensure that you will stay informed in this fast-moving technology area.
  • Telephone enquiry service - speak directly to Ovum's analyst team for additional information and advice when you need it.

The Ovum Pedigree

Ovum Evaluates: OLAP is the latest in an extensive series of Ovum reports and evaluation services which builds on the in-depth experience of our consultants and analysts in this area and underlines our well-deserved industry reputation for independence and for the high quality of our unique evaluation methodology.

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