Casabase is a multidimensional engine that aggregates data instantly across multiple, sign-based hierarchies. You can view your data by any combination and at any level of Year, Month, Day, Product, Department, Entity, Location, Account, Scenario, Version, or any other dimension you want. And you don’t have to wait for a nightly or hourly process to do it – gone are worries that your upper-level data has not been processed and is out of sync with base-level data.
Casabase is OLAP, simplified. It enables multidimensional analysis for the rest of us. Why deal with the complexity of Essbase, with its massive architecture requirements and need for constant care and feeding from expensive specialists? Casabase is also easier to develop and maintain than Microsoft Analysis Services – which requires a PhD to implement and support something as simple as alternate hierarchies. Plus, it isn’t even instantly-aggregated – it can take hours to process a moderate-sized cube.
There’s a reason both Oracle and Microsoft have deemphasized their OLAP offerings – they’ve made them so complex that no one wants to use them anymore. You need a whole “Essbase Department” or “MSAS Department” just to maintain what should be a straightforward OLAP cube. Not anymore though!
So how does Microsoft Power BI compare to Casabase? PBI is great for small analyses, by which I mean across one dimension. The real pain starts when you try to extend your analysis across other dimensions.
For example, you get your P&L or cash flow statement set up using a few bridge tables and a couple of hundred lines of DAX code. Everything’s working perfectly. But what happens when you get the inevitable next question, “Now can I see that P&L for each region and it sub-regions?” Well, now you have to extend the same DAX logic you used for account to one more dimension. No problem, you say, that’s just 3 more bridge tables for a total of 6 and a couple more hundred lines of DAX. No biggie!
Your new PBI report is a hit. People have been wanting to look at their P&L by product for years. But you know what’s coming next, right? Yep, in addition to product, they want to see the P&L broken out by department. Your logic is starting to break down, because it’s no longer 3 times the tables and code as your original P&L – it’s P&L3, since you have to be able to manually handle every permutation for every account-product-department combination at every level of the hierarchy and for every possible sign. A P&L will not just be simple summation, after all, but will have calculations like Profit and Loss, which is Income minus Expense:
What if there were a simple way to accommodate all the dimensions you need without having to write a single line of code or add even one table? What if you could have not just your regular Product dimension hierarchy, but an alternate hierarchy for Wendy that contains a rollup of just the 3 products she’s responsible for? And you don’t have to stop with just the one alternate hierarchy – add as many as you need in as many dimensions as required. This is out-of-the-box functionality in Casabase.
It’s as easy as creating your dimensions and hierarchies (both stored and alternate) and specifying the sign for each member:
Then all you need is a data file where each line contains a base-level member for each dimension in your Casabase cube. Casabase does the rest, instantly aggregating across all your dimensions while taking into account the signs (+,-,~) for each member at each level in each dimension:
And the best part? You can access this data directly from Excel, using free-form retrieves. They’re like pivot tables without the handcuffs. You’re no longer confined to just dragging and dropping and filtering. You can now even type member names directly into your Casabase-connected Excel worksheet. And don’t worry, pivoting is still there – and it’s even better than in a stodgy old pivot table.
Despite using the term OLAP above, Casabase uses a relational SQL Server database for storage. This means you don’t have to worry about getting your data out of a proprietary format. It’s easy to get data into and out of Casabase:
- A built-in stored procedure to return data at any level based on a POV string allows for integration with other tools
Casabase also allows users of the Excel add-in to “Save Data” (as seen in the Excel screenshot above). This means Casabase is not just an awesome way to display your existing data aggregated across multiple dimensions in Excel. You can also input, update, and delete data, making it a great option for forecasting and planning applications. We even include an Excel VBA interface that allows you to create exactly the type of input format you want your users to experience.
So, if you or your organization has been put off by the complexity and cost of Essbase or Microsoft Analysis Services, if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to reproduce these products’ functionality in Power BI or other self-service BI software, Casabase might just be the analysis tool you’ve been waiting for. Casabase is easier to use, has better retrieval performance, and allows your users to be productive in their preferred Excel environment, while also facilitating a single source of the truth through its SQL Server backbone.