Multidimensional Data Analysis

Written by Jacey Harmon
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Multidimensional data analysis allows analysts to study a multiple number of factors in a single report. A report comparing the sales of product A to product B for the previous 12 months would be a multidimensional report. Multidimensional data analysis is used by businesses to manage and enhance the performance of the company. The multidimensional reports will visually express the results of a study to allow the user to easily identify usable trends.

A dimension is basically a factor that can be analyzed. In the above paragraph I mention sales of two products for a select time period. Product A and B are two different dimensions with the time period being the third. A user could modify the report to include a third product, different products or different time periods. Businesses will utilize standard reports, such as quarterly sales figures, and ad hoc reports to analyze external and internal forces.

Multidimensional analysis is an application involved with business intelligence. A business intelligence program will require a group of tools. Data warehouses or data marts are where data is stored and analyzed. Data will likely be stored in multidimensional databases called cubes. A network, such as the Internet, is used to access the stored data. Analysis software is used to create reports by allowing the user to identify dimensions that will be included in the report.

Hierarchical Data Structure

Data used in multidimensional data analysis is stored and organized in a hierarchal fashion. In short, the data is classified in groups with each group having sub-groups that include individual data categories. For example, time periods can be grouped using a structure that starts with decades which then cascades down through individual years, quarters, months, days, hours, minutes and finally seconds.

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