Webinar of the Year: If You Think OLAP is Dead – Think Again

Author: | Category: Pyramid News, General BI | Tags: sports analytics, sports industry, athletics industry, analytics | Published: 12/16/2015

Webinar of the Year: If You Think OLAP is Dead – Think Again

On November 17, 2015, Pyramid Analytics hosted a webinar with Chris Webb. Webb is an independent consultant specializing in analysis services, and the topic he covered was “If you think OLAP is dead, think again.”

Interest for this webinar was high: 299 people registered, and 195 of them were on the webinar. There have been 319 on-demand views of the recording, for 514 total views so far. Webinars usually get twenty or so questions and a handful of comments, and for this one we had 70 questions and more than twenty positive comments.

Webb started by defining OLAP as a single central model that contains all of your business logic and centralized analytics, and then explained that a power pivot / power BI model is great for smaller, less complex scenarios, but users struggle with more complex scenarios like many to many data relationships. This is when you need the more complex capability provided by OLAP.

Discussion covered the critical shortcomings and best situations for Multidimensional, and then Webb applied the same questions to SSAS Tabular. The discussion then turned to questions from attendees, who got answers to questions such as:

  • DAX is seen as having an easy learning curve. Do you agree? Does this hold throughout the curve?
  • For someone starting out, which would be easier? Multidimensional or tabular?
  • How important are Role Playing Dimensions for BI projects?
  • What is the most important thing to remember or consider about SSAS when creating an Enterprise Scale BI solution?

So the question is what differentiated this webinar from the others?

Webb’s answers were clear, direct, and knowledgeable. He addressed the positive and negative sides of both Tabular and Multidimensional, acknowledging that both have their place in today’s Bi world and making it clear why OLAP is not only not dead, but still key for BI self-service. A lot of end users are interested in self-service allowing them to build their own queries, but they’re not as interested in building their own models. That’s where OLAP comes in.

To find out what participants learned and hear for yourself why Chris Webb’s presentation was one of our most popular yet, you can read his blog post about it here:


There’s a link on the page to register to view the webinar, or you can go here:

https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/13401/178899 [free sign-up required]

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