Many finance professionals face the common challenge of analyzing multidimentional data, which include many members (such as department, account, region...) that can be analysed in a variety of ways. As Excel only contains two dimensions, rows and columns, looking at the data in different combinations would be virtually impossible.
If you're in the process of evaluating Enterprise Performance Management solutions, it is important to understand what technology the software vendor is using. OLAP is a software technology that enables multidimentional analysis which allows financial professionals to look at data from different perspectives and understand the relationship between the dimensions, their hierarchies and their members. Although OLAP is the industry standard for EPM, not every EPM solution in the market is based on OLAP technology.