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Real World Problem #3 "Profit Hunt"
Where is my profit?

The business is an online reference service. The problem is to be able to track the cost and income streams associated with billions of documents across millions of users. The source of this information is about 15 million transaction records per day. In addition to user and document numbers, many different subtotals are needed by such things as, sales rep, state, database, library, market, tier, file, branch, country, firm, affiliate and service.

The current solution is based on a whole lot of batch processing. The first step is to filter and summarize the raw input on a nightly basis (information loss #1). The next step is to produce/update a set of databases IDMS, DB2, and others (information loss #2). Once these databases are ready a subset of information can be extracted from each (information loss #3). These extracts are processed monthly to produce a multidimensional database (information loss #4). Finally, questions can be asked. But only of information that actually makes it into this multidimensional database and only on the monthly snapshot.

In contrast, the MPbase solution contains four parts:

1: Load the raw data directly into an MPbase. This is possible because the nature of MPbase allows it to accept high volumes of relatively unfiltered data. The process of loading tends to highlight any errors in the information. This allows for the isolation of errors without the normal information loss.

2: Set up MPbase views to feed and/or support the IDMS, DB2 and other database systems. MPbase can appear to be almost any type of database. This allows two options in dealing with the currently running systems. The first is to produce an extract in the optimum format and order to load into the current database systems. The second is to create an MPbase view that allows the application to think it is still talking to the old database.

3: Load any plans and forecasts into the same MPbase. MPbase has the unique ability to deal with different levels of information in the same database at the same time. This allows direct comparison of raw detail with planned totals. It is only necessary to load the lowest level planning numbers as MPbase can produce the higher level totals internally. Currently where there are separate weekly and monthly numbers, daily numbers, if available, could provide both.

4: Use the MPbase directly to answer the same multidimensional questions in much more detail. Questionable records may be included or excluded in the viewed totals. Questions would be answered with real time data with no delays waiting for batch work to complete. Any total at any time could be drilled down to its lowest level components. This puts an end to the long and tedious process normally required to "prove" a number produced from a traditional multidimensional database system.

In short, faster access to better information with MPbase this nasty real world problem is no problem.

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