Project Server leverages SQL Server 2000’s Analysis Services to provide browser-based access to dimensioned data in OLAP cubes. You can add additional dimensions to the data cubes through the Project interface by adding custom outline codes that group data in a way that is tailored to and meaningful to your business needs. Users familiar with PivotTables in Excel will find that the Analyzer views behave similarly.
The online analytical processing (OLAP) technology relies upon a multidimensional view of data. The relational database structure that underpins most transactional applications is two-dimensional. OLAP leverages data cubes based on relational fact sources, which contain preprocessed three-dimensional data typically time-phased and aggregated by business dimension. The advantages of employing OLAP technologies for business analytics include the performance advantages of using preprocessed data and, more important, the transparent enforcement of standardized analytical formulas.
To build Portfolio Analyzer views (see the example shown in Figure 1-1), you drag and drop cube dimensions into data or chart areas. This feature exposes the full range of Excel charting capabilities in the browser interface, and users can view and manipulate data and graphical representations on the fly. Users can coalesce project data across projects, programs, and portfolios, providing the users powerful insight into business trends and issues. Because OLAP data is preprocessed, access to dimensioned data is fast.
Figure 1-1. Portfolio Analyzer view