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Crystal Reports 2008: Formatting Multidimensional Reporting Against OLAP Data

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This chapter covers the basics of OLAP, OLAP concepts and OLAP reporting, recently added or changed OLAP features in Crystal Reports, using the OLAP Report Creation Wizard and OLAP Expert, advanced OLAP reporting, troubleshooting, and Crystal Reports in the real world.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In this chapter

  • Introduction to OLAP 370
  • OLAP Concepts and OLAP Reporting 370
  • Recently Added or Changed OLAP Features in Crystal Reports 371
  • Using the OLAP Report Creation Wizard and OLAP Expert 372
  • Advanced OLAP Reporting 385
  • Troubleshooting 389
  • Crystal Reports in the Real World—OLAP Summary Report with Drill-Down 389

Introduction to OLAP

The first 15 chapters exposed you to a wide variety of the reporting capabilities found in Crystal Reports. Up to this point, however, all the reports you created were based on relational data sources, often known as Online Transactional Processing (OLTP) databases, where most organizations generally keep their operational data.

In many organizations and for many people today, data reporting ends with Crystal Reports pointing at existing relational data sources such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, or even Microsoft Access. All those relational databases are designed for the efficient storage of information. These databases are not designed optimally, however, for the efficient extraction of data for aggregated analysis across multiple dimensions—that is where OLAP databases excel.

OLAP stands for Online Analytical Processing, which enables business users to quickly identify patterns and trends in their data while reporting against multiple dimensions at once. Examples of dimensions for analysis include time, geographic region, product line, financial measure, customer, supplier, salesperson, and so on. Crystal Reports provides powerful OLAP-based formatted reporting capabilities, and this chapter introduces them.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to OLAP concepts and OLAP reporting
  • Recently added OLAP features in Crystal Reports
  • Creation of OLAP-based Crystal Reports
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