SQL Server Analysis Services: What Analysts & Business Intelligence Experts Should Know

If you are a business intelligence expert and you think convincing your boss of the advantages of Analysis Services is child’s play, think again. While techies realize the potentials and benefits of advanced solutions, business owners seldom do. Ironically, those who do not fully understand the power of Business Intelligence technology are those with the resources needed to implement it.

Business owners understand only two things: growth and profit. While you’re thinking how beneficial it would be to adopt the latest technology, the man with the purse strings is wondering, “When are you going to get your work done?” or “How is Analysis Services going to help my bottom line?”.

Though this article is mostly for Analysis Services newbies, here’s something IT professionals can take away – a mental shift when it comes to making a case for technology. Instead of emphasizing the technical features, conversations with executives should revolve around ROI, profitability and operational improvements – a surer way to get their attention.

Now, let’s delve into the jargons and geeky details…

What is Analysis Services?

Analysis Services is a flagship product of Microsoft’s Business Intelligence (BI) kitty. It has been available on SQL Server for some time now and in Microsoft Excel via a free add-on known as PowerPivot.

It’s a data source that can serve as a semantic layer for all your Business Intelligent clients. With Analysis Services, you can define your product lines and service offerings using key metrics. It can also store sales targets and forecasts, which can be regularly updated and viewed using KPIs. It has a feature for defining the relationships between the different aspects of your business and creating intricate calculations.

Why Should Organizations Bother?

Do you scan hundreds of reports to compare business figures from different locations, across multiple product lines? Do you need to group products and services under stringent categories to achieve more organization? Do you want to take two unrelated measures and integrate them? If your answer is yes, Analysis Services offers a great starting point.

Convincing Management

BI experts often say SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) offers superior performance but has a weak value proposition. What if a business owner does not really need real-time data? Business owners hardly care about split second performance; they care mainly about usability. They don’t mind waiting a couple of days to get their reports in excel because as far as they’re concerned, it’s easier to understand.

Instead of emphasizing the performance bit, BI experts should focus on the benefits of performing analysis with SSAS such as getting relevant information and future predictions in the right place at the right time. This will help your company make better decisions and increase the efficiency of your operations.

Considering other tools?

You may choose to consider tools like QlikView and Tableau. They are great for data visualization but do not promote data modelling best practices. Analysis Services goes beyond data visualization and covers hierarchies, pre-calculations and data structure.

Analysis Services can be a great weapon in your arsenal; it comes with ready-made features for advanced analytics and predictive analytics that enterprises are sure to benefit from.

Author Bio:

Anokhi Sheth currently works with Cygnet Infotech and loves writing on relevant business topics. Cygnet Infotech provides technology-enabled alternatives that help companies improve their efficiency. Cygnet Infotech also provides Business Analysis Services and a wide range of IT alternatives in technology such as Dotnetnuk CMS development, SharePoint, CRM, Java, PHP, .Net Program Growth, iPhone and mobile application development services.