Written by Jacey Harmon
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OLAP is an acronym for "On Line Analytical Processing." OLAP is the gathering, organizing, processing, and presenting of multidimensional data for management and information purposes. OLAP is used by businesses to decipher information relevant to their industry and operation. This information is used by the business to expand and evolve in a changing market place.

Aspects of an OLAP Product

In 1994 the "OLAP Report" was published. This report was intended to help businesses understand what exactly an OLAP application was and the differences between OLAP products. The report created a test to determine if a product was a true OLAP product. The test, called the FASMI test, relies on five characteristics to determine the definition of an OLAP product.

FASMI stands for fast, analysis, shared, multidimensional and information. According to this definition, an OLAP product needs to provide information fast. A product should provide a report within a matter of seconds, with the simplest taking a few seconds and the hardest taking less than 30 seconds. Analysis means that the application can deal with any business logic and keep information easy to understand for the user.

Since OLAP products are used through the Internet, the shared aspect of an OLAP product needs to be secure. The OLAP report places a premium on multidimensional views of provided information. Being able to see the information in a multidimensional view allows the end user to easily understand the report. The information test measures how much information the application can handle and interpret not how much space is needed to store the information.

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