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    One of the many benefits of a technological age is the ability to use software in the aid of business. A fine example of business software is OLAP. OLAP, or Online Analytical Processing, is used to collect fact sheets for various aspects of your business and then allow for the user to ask specific questions and receive answers in a quick, efficient manner. In this article, we will explain how OLAP works and identify a number of OLAP services.

    What is OLAP Software

    OLAP software uses what is known as an OLAP cube to organize facts about specific parts of your business. OLAP cubes can include customer names, addresses, phone numbers, number of sales, how much money was made from a specific customer, and anything else that you would like to add. The software then compiles all of your separate fact sheets into one system and allows for you to view these answers upon request. The basic idea of OLAP software is to automate the process of retrieving information rather than the user having to manually search for it in a database.

    Popular OLAP Software

    OLAP software is not always easy to find and locating good OLAP software can be even harder. The following is a compilation of efficient, user-friendly OLAP services that will take the grunt work out of your business and allow you to get back to concentrating on more important things.

    Cognos, Inc.

    Cognos, Inc. is a subsidiary of IBM that offers several business intelligence programs. Each of these programs are slightly different but all of them offer you analytical tools to improve the performance of your business. Cognos 8 Business Intelligence groups reports, analysis tools, scorecards, and dashboards into one interface. Cognos TM1 involves planning software combined with reports and analysis tools. Cognos Express is a combination of these programs.

    Business Objects

    Business Objects allows you to enter information from an assortment of sources from within your enterprise and then retrieve that information whenever you need it. Business Objects gives you the ability to search your own databases for information, compile reports of that information, and share your findings with your entire business at the click of a button. Business Objects provides the user with a detailed visual interface to analyze the information at their disposal. By using Business Objects, your company will be able to improve its marketing techniques and efficiently gather the information that keeps your business going.


    Speedware is a division of Activant Solutions, Inc. and offers a plethora of business solutions. Specifically, Speedware offers a software called Enterprise OLAP. Enterprise OLAP operates as any other OLAP program but focuses directly on speed and performance. Enterprise OLAP converts raw data into analysis reports that you can use to make smarter decisions in shorter amounts of time. Enterprise OLAP directs its attention on being efficient, user-friendly, and reliable.

    Contour Components

    Contour Components is a powerful OLAP program that gathers information rapidly from multiple sources and presents it in full detail. Contour Components allows the user to analyze information through a number of various media. Contour Components gives you more control of the information that you and your company have collected by providing you with tools to analyze the data faster than many of its competitors. Contour Components includes a reporting function in its software to allow you to share your data with others in your company through professional reports. You can do this through email, FTP, or manually uploading the information to your database or website.


    Actuate is a program that is built upon the BIRT structure of data analysis and OLAP software and allows you to search your databases for specific inquiries and view the results in a number of reporting media. The software provides the user with automated spreadsheets, web reports, management tools, OLAP functions, and analytics. Actuate also allows you to send your results to all departments of your organization simultaneously. Actuate is designed for both large companies and individuals.

    Vertica Systems

    Vertica Systems provides small businesses and large corporations equal access to a wide assortment of business intellegence software and solutions to enhance their productivity. Several of these programs involve the use of OLAP software to gather information and present it when requested. The software that Vertica Systems does this in streamlined fashion and allows you to easily analyze the information that is provided. Through the use of graphical presentations, interactive controls, and reports, Vertica Systems makes online analytical processing easy and efficient.

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