Archive for January, 2008
“Dimensions, measures, slicers? What are you talking about?” If you are licensed for Dynamics GP Advanced Management, you have access to a powerful analytical reporting tool; Analysis Cubes. Analysis Cubes has been part of the Great Plains systems for several years. It allows you to quickly access information and analyze it in ways that you previously may have not considered. It also provides a strong link to live data through Excel, so you can create reusable reports and refresh the data with one click.
Analysis Cubes is easy to install. You just need to install Analysis Services on your SQL Server, if you have not already done so. Then install the Analysis Cubes software (there’s a server piece, and a client piece). When you install Analysis Cubes, the installation wizard will install the DTS packages automatically and will offer to set up a SQL Job to regularly transfer data from the Dynamics GP database, to the Analysis Services database, and “process” the cubes.
To use Analysis Cubes, you launch the Create Pivot Table Reports screen within Dynamics GP. This allows you to select one of six cubes from which to draw information, and then export it to Excel. Simple. From there you need to draw on your Excel Pivot Table skills to create the report you want or analyze the data you’re after.
There are a few advantages to using Analysis Cubes over just pulling the data into Excel using an ODBC connection. First, as the data is transferred to Analysis Services, additional attributes are created for the data; the most important is that various time values are associated with each transaction, such as month, quarter, year. Second advantage is that the connection to Excel is made for you when you “send” the data to Excel. This makes it a lot easier for end users to get the data into Excel. Additionally, if you want to use other OLAP reporting tools, such as ProClarity, you already have the cubes available for analysis.
Certainly if you are already licensed for Analysis Cubes, it is worth your time to try it out. It’s fairly simple to install and adds a whole other reporting and analysis tool you can use to manage your business.