Guide to Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence
Excel Spreadsheets are frequently used in Data Warehousing applications to access and present data from Data Marts. Spreadsheets are powerful, flexible and relatively inexpensive tools that many decision makers are comfortable using.
Before Data Warehousing became popular, decision makers often had difficulty getting access to corporate data. It was necessary to populate spreadsheets from multiple disparate data sources and manually integrate the data. This process was both time consuming and error-prone.
Privacy, data redundancy and currency issues arose when decision makers retained their own personal copies of sensitive corporate data on the personal computers and laptops.
In a Data Warehousing environment, a subset of the cleansed and integrated corporate data is copied from the Data Warehouse to a Data Mart. The spreadsheet then accesses the Data Mart directly. Where necessary, data from the Data Mart can be copied to a personal computer.
Excel and other spreadsheet applications provide Pivot Table capabilities that allow users to separate "facts" (numeric data to be summed) from "dimensions" (used for filtering, sorting and grouping).
Excel also provides graphing capabilities that permit the end user to present information in chart and graph formats. These diagrams can be easily incorporated into MS Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, web pages, etc.
The use of Excel Spreadsheets to present and analyze data from Data Warehouses is an inexpensive and flexible method for sharing business intelligence.