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OLAP or on-line analytical processing is an enabling application technology and database model that grants userssuch as functional managersstrategic decision making capabilities OLAP analyzes the results of daily business so tactical and strategic decisions can be made to change the way business is done and gain competitive advantage OLAP tools include programs that show Multi-Dimensional Data rather like a spreadsheet with six or seven dimensions instead of only two with drill down capability While OLTP or on-line transaction processing applications enhance transaction processing by relating atomized data across business processes OLAP applications and databases provide users with the ability to view multi-dimensional data thereby enhancing the managers ability to create business models The significance of a multi-dimensional view of data is that it allows decision-makers to view many summarized historical data records and group them by subject In short it allows for consolidation of data Rather than executing queries that view data by record and filesuch as in the OLTP designOLAP provides managers with the ability to execute queries against a flexible database thereby changing the dimensions of the query For example rather than executing a query like what is the profit margin of product X as in an OLTP query OLAP enables managers to ask what is the highest profit margins across our entire product line OLTP vs- OLAP Type of systemOLTP SystemOnline Transaction ProcessingOperational SystemOLAP SystemOnline Analytical ProcessingData WarehouseData Mart Source of dataOperational data OLTPs are the original source of the dataConsolidation data OLAP data comes from the various OLTP databases Purpose of dataTo control and run fundamental business tasksTo help with planning problem solving and decision support What the data revealsA snapshot of ongoing business processesMulti-dimensional views of various kinds of business activities Inserts and UpdatesShort and fast inserts and updates initiated by end usersPeriodic long-running batch jobs refresh the data QueriesRelatively standardized and simple queries returning relatively few recordsOften complex queries involving aggregations Processing speedTypically very
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