Dickeson--The Analytical Power of OLAP
We need to aggregate, synthesize and analyze our printing process information beyond the world of our job cost systems that presently use transactional analysis of an RDBMS system. There are 1,600 variables and 2,600 press events, and more than that must be aggregated, compared and related. Trends must be found and analyzed. Covariances and correlations that lead to actions and decisions need to be identified. Unscheduled stoppages of equipment must be reduced to improve time and materials efficiency.
It's beyond my competence to do more than point a direction. I don't know how my VCR works, but I use it to keep Blockbuster solvent.
OLAP isn't really new, just newly rediscovered and touted. In 1977, I witnessed a demonstration of an MDBMS on a microcomputer system called the Microdata Reality, and I could hardly believe the ease of query and analysis I was observing. It was named the Pick System, after its developer Richard Pick, who pioneered it for the military at about the same time in the late '60s that UNIX was being perfected. Pick Systems are now running in thousands of applications worldwide.
A year or two ago a new version of Pick, called D3, was introduced for UNIX, Windows 95, Windows NT and Visual Basic 5. It can run on terminals or PC workstations and is available with open database connectivity and SQL. I don't know how it works, but I'd sure like to use it, or one of the other dozen or so systems that are now available with OLAP capability, to analyze our printing processes.
—Roger V. Dickeson
About the Author
Roger Dickeson is a printing productivity consultant based in The Woodlands, TX. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; or via fax at (281) 362-7572.