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OLAP Cubes VS. Data Warehouses for Dynamics NAV

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If you aren’t aware of a company data’s importance in today’s business world, you’re living under a rock.  Corporations rely on managing and analyzing operational and transactional information to comprehend the health of the company and relatedly, how to approach the future.  More specifically, data storage and analytics goes beyond historical understanding – it enables decision-makers to plan for the future.  However, without a legitimate understanding about Business Intelligence (BI) data stores, knowing your options can be tough.  In terms of product types, there are just a handful of options, but their distinctions are important when it comes to your team’s specific business needs, especially in the context of your Microsoft Dynamics NAV experience. One data store might be the only route your company can implement.  This article will zoom in on the primary two data storage solutions for use with Microsoft Dynamics NAV – OLAP cubes and Data Warehouses.

First of all, it might help to define the solutions.  OLAP is short for online analytical processing and a cube means that it is a multi-dimensional data set.  Combined, OLAP cubes are staging platforms for data and technology where you can query information for structured and dimensional analytics.  On the other hand, data warehouses are databases that store information, and they are managed separately from a company’s operational database.  A data warehouse will enable you to store and organize your data by providing a stable space for consolidating diverse types of information.  These two BI data stores require different IT involvements.

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With an OLAP cube not built as a standard SQL server data warehouse, your team should include a professional with OLAP-specific technical skills to maintain it.  If you already have someone on staff who has the experience to work with OLAP cubes, you’re set.  However, if this team member leaves or you don’t have anyone in place already, it is one more checklist item for implementing the OLAP cube.  Plenty of companies do use OLAP cubes, so the likelihood that you already have or can easily find someone with the right skill set is pretty high.  Alternatively, data warehouses used to be the result of developers, which tended to be expensive, but now some third party vendors offer them fully built and customizable for multiple types of data at affordable prices.  And some data warehouse solutions can be managed by business end users, instead of relying on the IT department.  Product management is just one of several facets to evaluate when deciding on a BI data store.

Choosing a BI data store to enhance your Dynamics NAV processes will directly impact your BI toolbox and roadmap, so it is a big decision.  Some organizations routinely query and analyze information from NAV and other data sources, so deciding on a platform could result in additional BI tool investments, like reporting, budgeting, and/or dashboards.  You might just deploy a data store as a way to improve workflow for your team.  Whatever the reason, you should familiarize yourself with the differences in key BI data stores.

To continue learning more about your options for BI data storage solutions for with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, read the rest of this article here.

by Solver, Inc.

One Response to “OLAP Cubes VS. Data Warehouses for Dynamics NAV”

  1. raokman says:

    Whatever happened to ERP systems with fewer than 100 files, that agreed with each other, didn’t get out of sync, and performed the same functions as NAV with fewer ‘consultants’ and add-on’s required?

    Why do we need add-on’s for everything? Data warehouses, Azure, now Word to write reports, still Jet-reporting?, f9 to pull GL info (but not SKU data!).

    I am really tired of the nickel and dime, make that $100 and $1000, charges that are constantly dinging us to make and keep NAV working in the real world.

    Just found out that even though EVERY business check since the 1960s has a fractional code printed on it, NAV doesn’t include that feature without still another customization charge.

    Really, really, tired.

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