11.2. Updating Your Cube Data

The ability to create "hypothetical" what-if scenarios is central to business intelligence because it enables the executive to explore contingencies associated with the financial landscape. In this way, the executive can seek out the profit maximizing potential of the firm while minimizing risk and generally mitigating threats. Because these concepts are so much better explained by way of example, here are two specific examples to help you understand what is meant by what-if scenarios.

In the first example, a company president is considering her options in terms of resource allocation for the coming fiscal year. Her BI team has astutely developed UDM that calculate key business drivers for the company. Because the user can writeback new values into those seed measures, new configurations of company resource allocation can be tried and the results assessed. The key business metrics will be re-calculated due to new values entered into the system. The sorts of questions that can be "asked" of the system through the use of these simulations depend on how many measures are designed to act as seed values. Typical questions include, "What if we increase our advertising budget for the next fiscal year?" "What if we charge more (or less) for our product?" and "What if we take on more debt to expand production facilities and therefore enhance manufacturing capacity?" Keep in mind that not just any question could be asked of the system. Only those questions ...

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