Real time OLAP, or RTOLAP, is the capability to quickly retrieve, aggregate, analyze and present multi-dimensional data for cubes whenever there are changes to the data in the relational data source, without having to run heavy batch processing on the cube. A big advantage of real time OLAP is that it calculates all relevant data and provides immediate output.

One of the main enablers of an RTOLAP system is that data is stored directly in main memory, or in an in-memory database, enabling quicker access to the data. Another factor affecting the speed of calculation is compression – data is compressed, in such a way that it can be accessed must faster in its compressed form. Additionally, pre-calculated values are not stored, therefore avoiding “data explosion”.

The use of a relational data source is key in RTOLAP systems, as this enables running queries on a small amount of data rather than running a heavy extraction and analytics process on the entire aggregated database, which usually is required to work at times when data flow is low, like at night or over the weekend.

The ability to run analytics processes on relational, in-memory databases enables enterprises to see the immediate impact of transactional operations. For instance, queries can run on all product sales in real time to provide continuous P&L monitoring.

In online trading, for example, it is critical for traders to have the ability to monitor profit and loss performance in real-time and follow fluctuations in the value of a portfolio of trades to understand the changes and client positions in order to control potential risk exposure.

Solutions that enable traders to monitor portfolio P&L data, analyze it, and fully understand risk in real time are necessary tools in today’s capital market. We have developed such an explanatory P&L solution is our ActivePivot system, which provides users with the ability to constantly monitor and follow new events introduced to the system as well as see the immediate impact of these changes.

ActivePivot helps manage complex trade portfolios, as each time market data changes, the impact on P&L can be viewed in real time, and at any level of granularity – stock, portfolio, groups of portfolios, or across a larger set of financial holdings. This allows not only seeing if profit is up or down, but also what factors effected these fluctuations, analyzing cause and effect in real time. Beyond P&L, ActivePivot is a RTOLAP system that is able to analyze any business metrics, as its drivers or components change, at any level of granularity required for the business.

To try out ActivePivot’s real time OLAP system, see our live demo.