The authors of books in the Wrox Professional series attempt to make each chapter as stand alone as possible. This book is no exception. However, owing to the sophistication of the subject matter and the manner in which certain concepts are necessarily tied to others has somewhat undermined this most noble intention. In fact, unless you are a seasoned data warehousing professional; or otherwise have experience with earlier versions of Analysis Services, it is advised you take a serial approach to reading chapters. Work through the first three chapters in order as they will collectively provide you some architectural context, a good first look at the product and an introduction to MDX. Just to remind you, in the simplest terms, MDX is to Analysis Services what SQL is to SQL Server. Ok, that was just too simple an analogy; but let's not get ahead of ourselves! As for the actual layout of the book, we have divided the book into roughly four major sections.
In Part 1 we introduce the basic concepts and then get you kick started using Analysis Services with most of the common operations that you need to design your databases. You will become familiarized with the product if you aren't already and hopefully it will provide you some sense of achievement which will certainly help motivate you to go beyond the simple stuff and move to the advanced.
Part 2 contains chapters that prepare you for the more advanced topics concerning the creation of multidimensional databases. You will learn about the calculation model in Analysis Services 2005 and enhance your dimensions and cube designs using Business Intelligence Development Studio Further you will learn more about the new features in the product such as multiple measure groups, business intelligence wizards, key performance indicators, and actions.
In Part 3 of the book, we include some of the common scenarios used in BI spread across four chapters (all with specific learning agendas of their own). The idea here is for you to get comfortable solving business problems and start you on your way to thinking about how to build larger scale BI databases. We also, we focus on real world business aspects of product usage. Like budgeting and forecasting and to be particularly real world, we have a whole chapter on the use of Office analysis components.
Finally, in Part 4, we cover the integration of Analysis Services with other SQL Server 2005 components that help you build solutions and provide the best support possible to your administrators and BI users. Both Integration and Administration along with Performance are absolutely key to get the maximum out of the system after initial design. This is also the section where you will find Data Mining.
Together, these four sections, that is to say, this book, will provide you a full blown BI learning experience. Since BI and BI applications constitute such an incredibly complex and massive field of endeavor, no one book can possibly cover it all. In terms of BI though the eyes of SQL Server Analysis Services 2005, we hope this book has got it covered!
We also encourage you to take a look at Appendix A; it is the complete MDX Reference as obtained from the Wiley Publishing book, MDX Solutions, 2nd Edition. The authors would like to thank George Spofford and Wiley Publishing for allowing use of that reference; it should come in handy for you.