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CRM OnDemand

Configuring Siebel CRM


OnDemand Analytics for
Optimal Performance

November 2005
Siebel Systems, Inc., 2207 Bridgepointe Parkway, San Mateo, CA 94404
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Contents

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 1

Chapter 1: What’s New in This Release

Chapter 2: Overview of Designing Reports and Analyses in


Siebel CRM OnDemand
About Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics and Reporting 7
Data Warehouse and Transactional Database Trade-Offs 8
Summary of Data Source Comparisons 9

Chapter 3: Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand


Analytics
Planning and Architecture Guidelines 11
Methods for Achieving Optimal Analytics Performance 13
Special Considerations for Real-Time Reports 17

Index

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 3


Contents ■

4 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


1 What’s New in This Release

What’s New in Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for


Optimal Performance,
This is the first edition of this guide.

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 5


What’s New in This Release ■

6 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


2 Overview of Designing Reports
and Analyses in Siebel CRM
OnDemand

Siebel CRM OnDemand developers, report designers, and system integrators create custom reports
for their end users. This chapter provides background information on designing reports and analyses
in Siebel CRM OnDemand. It contains the following sections:

■ “About Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics and Reporting” on page 7

■ “Data Warehouse and Transactional Database Trade-Offs” on page 8

■ “Summary of Data Source Comparisons” on page 9

About Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics


and Reporting
Siebel CRM OnDemand’s analytics and reporting tool provides business insight to help executives,
managers, and individual contributors make decisions by understanding the state of their
businesses. Analytics typically refers to analyses summarizing large amounts of data to highlight key
trends. End users can explore analyses by drilling down to detail data to identify root causes. In
contrast, reporting typically refers to detailed listings of specific record types. Both analytics and
reports play integral and complementary roles in a complete CRM business intelligence solution.

Before you begin developing analyses and reports in OnDemand, you must understand the following
concepts:

■ How each analysis or report will meet the business needs of your end users

■ Whether historical information is appropriate, or whether real-time data is essential

■ The advantages and trade-offs between providing historical information and real-time
information

Before developing analyses and reports for end-users, think through the business needs and usage
scenarios of each report. This will help you understand whether historical or real-time data is the
most appropriate source.

Historical and Real-Time Data Reporting


Siebel CRM OnDemand supports both historical and real-time reporting.

■ Historical analyses. Most users need analyses and reports showing historical trends and
summaries. Real-time information is not critical as long as the historical information is
sufficiently up-to-date for the business trends analyzed.

In these cases, you build analyses using the Analytics subject areas, also known as Historical
subject areas. These subject areas reference the Siebel CRM OnDemand data warehouse.

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 7


Overview of Designing Reports and Analyses in Siebel CRM OnDemand ■ Data
Warehouse and Transactional Database Trade-Offs

■ Real-time reports. These provide the most current information available in the OnDemand
system, because they instantaneously reflect data as updated in OnDemand throughout the day.
Some end users require real-time reporting because they must make decisions or perform their
jobs based on continuously updated data.

End users typically access real-time information by referencing lists or individual detail records
directly in the online OnDemand application. In some instances, however, you may have to
provide a report that uses real-time data. In cases like this, you build reports with Real-Time
subject areas, also known as Reporting subject areas. These subject areas reference the Siebel
CRM OnDemand transactional database.

For example, near the end of a sales quarter, sales managers might need to view the latest
changes to sales pipeline information and closed revenue several times a day. Additionally, the
sales managers might want to see metrics or summarized information that cannot be obtained
with OnDemand lists. To address these needs, you could build a real-time report of pipeline
status and closed revenue.

Data Warehouse and Transactional


Database Trade-Offs
Trade-offs exist between using the transactional database and the data warehouse that have a direct
impact on your end-users’ experience. Understanding these trade-offs can help you determine
whether the Analytics subjects areas (referencing the data warehouse) or the Reporting subject
areas (referencing the transactional database) are most appropriate for any report or analysis.

The Data Warehouse Optimizes Performance


By using the data warehouse as an analytics data source, you provide end users with analyses that
run as quickly as possible, but you trade off the currentness of real-time data. Also, by using the
data warehouse, you reduce the load on the transactional database, which improves performance for
OnDemand operational users. Additionally, you can build analyses to be more complex, to have more
flexible report configurations, and to include more metrics than may be possible with real-time
reports.

Whenever possible, it is recommended that you build analyses and reports using the Analytics (or
Historical) subject areas, which reference the data warehouse. The data warehouse is designed to
optimize how quickly analyses and reports are displayed to end users by making sure that the system
performs the underlying queries as efficiently as possible. Consequently, analyses and reports that
reference the data warehouse run as fast as possible.

Using the data warehouse, your reports can reference fields from as many record types as necessary,
and process as much data volume as needed, and the report will still run at optimal speed.
Additionally, the data warehouse supports special features, such as some metrics and data
hierarchies, that are not available in real-time subject areas.

OnDemand refreshes the data warehouse from the transactional database on a daily basis. In other
words, the data warehouse and the transactional database are synchronized each day. Because the
typical purpose of analyses is to understand historical trends, this is current enough for most
analyses.

8 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


Overview of Designing Reports and Analyses in Siebel CRM OnDemand ■ Summary
of Data Source Comparisons

The Transactional Database Provides Real-Time Reporting


By using the transactional database as a report data source, you provide end users with real-time
information, but you trade off reporting performance. You also increase the load on the transactional
database, potentially impacting the performance experienced by OnDemand operational users.

Most companies need real-time reports only for selected end users whose job roles require
immediate insight into data as it changes throughout the day. While such users can usually meet
their needs by referencing lists and detail transaction records in the OnDemand application, they
sometimes also require real-time reports.

Real-time reports reference OnDemand’s transactional database. This database is optimized to


handle activities such as adding, deleting, and editing transactional records. The transactional
database is not optimized for reporting. Because of this, reports that reference the transactional
database can run more slowly than equivalent reports that reference the data warehouse. Also, the
more record types referenced in a real-time report, the more slowly the report may run. Ideally, for
best performance, you should limit any real-time report to one record type.

Summary of Data Source Comparisons


Before developing a set of analyses and reports for end-users, think through the business needs and
usage scenarios of each report. This will help you understand whether the data warehouse or the
transactional database is the most appropriate data source. The data warehouse is the preferred
approach, because it is designed for analyses and reporting. Most users prefer faster-running reports
and the additional capabilities of the data warehouse. In some cases, however, users require real-
time reporting and are willing to trade off performance for that. Siebel CRM OnDemand supports both
needs.

For information about optimizing the performance of analyses and reports, see Chapter 3, “Best
Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics.” For more information about developing analyses and
reports, see the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 9


Overview of Designing Reports and Analyses in Siebel CRM OnDemand ■ Summary
of Data Source Comparisons

10 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


3 Best Practices for Configuring
OnDemand Analytics

This chapter describes design and usage best practice guidelines for building custom analyses and
reports for optimal performance. This chapter includes the following sections:

■ “Planning and Architecture Guidelines” on page 11

■ “Methods for Achieving Optimal Analytics Performance” on page 13

■ “Special Considerations for Real-Time Reports” on page 17

Planning and Architecture Guidelines


This section contains high-level planning and architecture guidelines for configuring Siebel CRM
OnDemand reports for optimal performance.

Use the Data Warehouse for Analytics and Reporting


Build reports and analyses using the data warehouse whenever possible. This allows you to take
maximum advantage of the information in your company’s data warehouse. The data warehouse is
designed to optimize how quickly and efficiently reports and analyses return data to end users. To
build analyses that use the data warehouse, use the Analytics, or Historical, subject areas, in Siebel
Answers OnDemand. Avoid using real-time subject areas unless they are absolutely essential.

For more information about whether to use historical data or real-time data as a basis for your
reports, see “Data Warehouse and Transactional Database Trade-Offs” on page 8.

Use Export for Large Extracts and Archiving


Performing a data dump means taking large amounts of data in the system and exporting or
extracting it. Most of the time, data dumps provide minimal value in report formats. This is because
the data is too voluminous to be meaningful to end users, and because the data quickly becomes
out-of-date. If a data dump is necessary, consider the following facts:

■ It is recommended that you use exports for data dumps, rather than Answers OnDemand.
Answers OnDemand is not optimized to process, display, or print data dumps.

■ The Analytics UI constrains the number of rows that can be displayed on a report. The Analytics
download feature provides greater flexibility. If you must use Analytics to return large volumes
of data, use a download to capture the more complete data set.

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 11


Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Planning and Architecture
Guidelines

Provide Summary Analyses with Drilldowns to Details


Design analyses so end users can look first at high-level trends and information, such as a sales
pipeline. From the high level, they can then drill down to the detail level for particulars they are
interested in, or drill across to related information. This design provides not only details, but also
high-level analytics showing trends and what actions users should take in response. This design also
limits the subset of records returned in a report, thus speeding its performance.

Siebel CRM OnDemand allows you to manually set up modularized reports and custom links from a
summary to details. This eliminates the need to present one long report with substantial detail data
for each record. Instead, you can allow the user to identify key trends quickly, then drill down to the
underlying reasons for those trends, by doing the following:

■ Design an initial report that displays summary information or trends and directs end users to drill
down to explore details.
■ Build linked reports for the detailed information. Target each detail report on one insight on the
summary report.

■ Create an additional level of drilldowns by building action links from detail records on the report
to the corresponding detail records in the OnDemand application. For more information about
action links, see “Create Drilldowns to Records with Action Links” on page 12.

For example, you may want to set up a report showing, at its highest level, total opportunity revenue
by current sales stage. You could then configure detail reports showing more specific information
about opportunities in each sales stage. Then, using action links, you can allow end users to navigate
from the detail reports to detail opportunity records. These drill-down paths allow end users to view
selected details for sales stages in which they are interested.

You can link one report to another by specifying what happens when end users perform the following
actions:

■ Click a column. When setting up a report’s column properties, specify a column link to another
report with the Navigate to Another Analysis option. For more information, see the section on
editing the layout of column contents in the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM
OnDemand Online Help.

■ Click a chart. When setting up a report to show results in a chart format, specify a link from the
chart to another report with the Navigate option. For more information, see the section on
specifying what happens when a user clicks a chart in the chapter on reports and dashboards in
Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Create Drilldowns to Records with Action Links


An action link is a hyperlink from a report detail to the corresponding source record in the application.
Providing action links in a report allows end users to explore additional record detail not included in
the report.

For example, by means of an action link, an end user can click a hyperlinked Opportunity Name field
in a report or analysis, and navigate automatically to the corresponding Opportunity detail record in
the OnDemand application.

12 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Methods for Achieving Optimal
Analytics Performance

Additionally, consider the example in “Provide Summary Analyses with Drilldowns to Details” on
page 12 of a summary report showing opportunities by sales stage, with drilldowns to detail reports
for each of the sales stages. In this case, action links could provide further drilldowns from the detail
reports into specific opportunity records in the application.

Consider the End User’s Position in the Organization Hierarchy


The higher an end user is in the organizational hierarchy, the more underlying data will be reflected
on a report, and therefore the more processing can be required to run the report. To make sure that
reports for such individuals run as quickly as possible, be sure to adhere to the guidelines in this
document.

Limit the Number of Set Operations


Advanced features of Answers OnDemand allow you to combine queries. You can then perform set
operations such as unions, intersections, and other joining actions on those queries to build a final
report. The greater the number of query results combined, the more processing time is required to
run the final report. For fastest processing, limit the number of queries used, ideally to two only.

For information about combining queries, see the section on combining results of multiple reports
using set operations in the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Clarify HMTL Code and Narratives


When using HTML in connection with SQL, make sure the HTML is clear and precise, and does not
contain any unnecessary tags or superfluous information. Likewise, make sure narratives are clear
and precise, and do not contain unneeded instructions. This helps make the specified formatting
more efficient and reduces performance issues caused by load time to display.

Factor Report Tuning and Scalability Into the Project


A report may run well in a test environment before all production data is present. After you import
the full production data set, however, the increased data volume may degrade the report’s
performance. Consider this contingency early in a report-building project. Allow time to retest and
tune reports after importing the full production data set.

Methods for Achieving Optimal Analytics


Performance
This section describes best practices that promote optimal performance in Siebel CRM OnDemand
analytics and reports.

Use Filters to Narrow Analyses


A filter is a condition that restricts the data displayed in a report. This reduces the size of the report’s
data set, and therefore helps to speed reporting. When configuring reports, use filters as much as
you can. Observe the following guidelines:

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 13


Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Methods for Achieving Optimal
Analytics Performance

■ Apply filters as a first step to building a report.

If you apply fields to a report, then run it without applying filters, the report may take a long
time to run, depending on the amount of data returned.

■ Filter on the driving object as a priority.

For example, when using the Accounts subject area, filter on fields in the Accounts folder.

■ Select the most restrictive filters first. Then, after experimenting, ease the restrictions as
needed.

■ Develop reports with a small set of data. When the report is complete and functions properly,
remove the filters you put in place to restrict the amount of data for development purposes.

While filters usually improve reporting performance, in some cases this may not occur, depending on
the field referenced in the filter. In particular:

■ If a filter references a column with an underlying CASE formula, then depending on the formula
and related processing required, this filter could degrade the report’s performance. When
filtering on a field with a CASE statement or other formula, experiment to determine how this
impacts reporting performance.

■ A report that filters on a custom Date field can run more quickly than a similar report that filters
on a custom Date/Time field. When possible, filter on custom Date fields rather than custom
Date/Time fields.

When you create custom fields in Siebel CRM OnDemand, create custom Date fields rather than
custom Date/Time fields whenever possible. Create a custom Date/Time field only when the time
component is essential. This makes it feasible to build reports using custom Date fields instead
of custom Date/Time fields.

NOTE: Do not confuse filters with prompts. When you build a report, you set up prompts in a
different step from the one in which you apply filters. Also, prompts work differently from filters, and
different performance considerations apply to prompts. For more information about prompts, see
“Build Prompts to Achieve Best Performance” on page 14.

Build Prompts to Achieve Best Performance


A prompt is an interactive feature of a report that allows end users to specify a filter value
dynamically when they run the report. Runtime prompts are useful because a report may need to be
filtered differently for different users or for the different dates on which it is run. The use of prompts
addresses this need, allowing one report to be built and maintained for a diverse audience of users.

When running a report that uses prompts, an end user’s experience is impacted first by prompt
processing time, and second by report processing time. You can configure prompts to achieve
optimal performance.

Column Filter Prompts


To improve the performance of column filter prompts, follow these guidelines:

■ Try to make all prompts reference fields in the same record type folder. In other words, avoid
cross-object prompting if possible.

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Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Methods for Achieving Optimal
Analytics Performance

■ When defining prompts, under the What Values Should Be Shown to the User item, select either
None or All Values for the fastest performance.

CAUTION: Avoid using the Filter Limited Values option if at all possible. This option restricts
prompt selections the report will display to end users, based on other filters and prompts applied
to the report. If a report contains large volumes of data, this option can slow the report’s
performance.

When deciding whether to select the None, All Values, or Filter Limited Values option, it is
recommended that you strike a balance between the desired report performance and the optimal
presentation of selectable values to end users.

For more information about these options, see the section on adding column filter prompts in the
chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Image Prompts
Avoid using high-resolution images for Image Prompts. It is recommended that no image used on a
report exceed 100 dpi. Optimally, images should be 50 dpi or lower.

NOTE: When using Image Prompts, make sure the image file is saved on a public server. This will
allow all end users viewing the report to access the Image Prompt.

Include Record Keys in Report Criteria


Using record keys improves report performance. Whenever possible, include the record key for each
record type used in a report. Place that field first of all fields used for that record type.

For example, the record key of Opportunity is Opportunity ID, and the record key of Account is
Account ID. If you create a report showing Opportunities and related Accounts, define the
Opportunity ID field as the first field of all Opportunity fields in the report, and define the Account
ID field as the first field of all Account fields in the report.

CAUTION: When you include a record key, the report processes all detail records for that key’s
record type. While it is usually advantageous to include record keys, depending on the purpose of
the report, this may not always be desirable.

NOTE: If you do not want end users to see the record key in the report, you can hide the column.
For information about hiding columns in a report, see the section on editing the layout of column
contents in the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Configure Pivot Tables for Maximum Efficiency


You can boost the efficiency of pivot tables in reports by observing the guidelines described in this
topic.

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 15


Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Methods for Achieving Optimal
Analytics Performance

Remove Extra Columns


Remove superfluous columns from the underlying report criteria used to build pivot tables, if
possible. Typically, these are columns in the report criteria that are excluded from the referenced
pivot table. Excluded columns appear in the Excluded box in the pivot table layout.

NOTE: Before removing superfluous columns, make sure they are not used in other layout views
created for the same report. If superfluous columns are used in other layout views, consider
removing those layout views and creating a separate report for them. This allows you to remove the
columns from the pivot table in the original report to achieve best performance, and reference the
new report when the other layout views are needed.

■ For information about removing columns from pivot tables, see the section on adding or
modifying pivot table views in the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand
Online Help.

■ For information about removing columns from the report criteria, see the section on adding
columns to reports in the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online
Help.

Use Chart Pivoted Results


Whenever possible, for each pivot table that requires a chart, use the Chart Pivoted Results option
instead of creating a separate chart view. Multiple charts in a report can require more processing,
because OnDemand must create the charts individually, rather than simultaneously with the pivot
table.

For information about adding charts to a report, see the section on adding or modifying pivot table
views in the chapter on reports and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Eliminate Superfluous Elements from Reports and Charts


Configure reports and analyses with only those elements necessary for the layout views presented
to end users.

■ Reports. When building reports, use only those fields, totals, subtotals, pages, and other
reporting elements that are absolutely necessary for data display, unless you need them for
performance optimization or other critical reasons. In other words, remove superfluous reporting
elements from reports.

For an example of elements you may want to include for reasons other than data display, see
“Include Record Keys in Report Criteria” on page 15.

■ Charts. Similarly to reports, use only the fields and other reporting elements that are necessary.
In particular, when configuring the Chart view, completely remove columns and metrics not used
for the displayed chart from the underlying report criteria, if possible.

Avoid Cross-Object Column Selectors


Whenever possible, do not use a column selector that crosses into another object. Try to keep all
column selectors within the same object.

16 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Special Considerations for Real-
Time Reports

Special Considerations for Real-Time


Reports
This section describes specific best practices to promote optimal performance of Siebel CRM
OnDemand real-time reports.

The preferred data source for reporting and analytics is the data warehouse, as described in “Use the
Data Warehouse for Analytics and Reporting” on page 11. If a real-time report that references the
transactional database is essential, however, there are steps you can take to optimize its
performance.

This section identifies report configuration best practices that require special consideration when you
build real-time reports. Unless slower performance is acceptable, it is recommended that you restrict
the use of the elements described in Table 1.

NOTE: While reducing the use of these elements can significantly improve the speed of real-time
reports, it can also enhance the performance of reports built on the data warehouse. However,
because reports and analyses built on the data warehouse already run faster than real-time reports,
the performance improvement will be more significant for a real-time report.

Table 1. Elements to Use Minimally in Real-Time Reports

Elements to Restrict Comments

Multiple record types In other words, avoid using more than one record type in a
report.

Custom pick list fields Use of custom pick list fields may impact report processing
time. Use only when needed.

Address fields When possible, use address fields only from extended address
folders. These are address folders whose names include the
suffix “Extended.” For example, in the Account record type,
use address fields only from the Billing Address (Extended)
and Shipping Address (Extended) folders.

For more information about extended address folders, see the


section on using addresses in reports in the chapter on reports
and dashboards in Siebel CRM OnDemand Online Help.

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 17


Best Practices for Configuring OnDemand Analytics ■ Special Considerations for Real-
Time Reports

Table 1. Elements to Use Minimally in Real-Time Reports

Elements to Restrict Comments

Fields from any Date-type folder Fields that are functions of Date (for example, Fiscal Year,
Fiscal Month, and so on) may require additional processing,
compared to reporting on the underlying date field itself.

To optimize performance when reporting on date fields, it is


recommended that you use standard Date or Date/Time fields
from the associated record type folder, instead of from the
special date folder that contains date hierarchies.

For example, to report on an activity Due Date, select the


generic Due Date field from the Activity folder. If you select
other associated fields, such as Fiscal Year or Fiscal Month of
the Due Date, the report could take longer to run.

CAST conversion functions for Use of the CAST conversion function may impact report
Date or Date/Time fields processing time. Use only if needed.

Fields from any Owned By User Fields that are functions of Owner (for example, User Name,
folder User Email, or Alias), as they appear in the Owned By User
folder, may require additional processing time compared to the
Owner field itself.

To optimize performance when reporting on Owner fields, use


the Owner field from the associated record type folder. For
example, to report on an Opportunity Owner, select the Owner
field from the Opportunity folder, rather than from the Owned
By User folder.

Any fields from the Primary Use of these fields may impact report processing time. Use
Contact folder in the Account only if needed.
folder

The Parent Account, Last Modified Use of these fields may impact report processing time. Use
By, Created By, and Manager only if needed.
fields

18 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance


Index

A action links 12
action links 12 from a chart 12
analyses from a column 12
developing 9 summary to detail reports 12
historical 7
analytics E
about 7 end user’s position, report performance
best practices 13 impact 13
data dumps 11 exports 11
architecture guidelines 11
F
B fields 17
best practices filters 13
analytics and reports 13
planning and architecture 11 G
real-time reports 17
guidelines
analytics and reports 13
C planning and architecture 11
CAST conversion functions 17 real-time reports 17
charts
drilldowns 12 H
necessary elements 16
historical analyses 7
in pivot tables 16
HTML code, clarifying 13
column filter prompts 14
columns
drilldowns 12 I
in pivot tables 16 image prompts 15
selectors 16
combined queries 13 N
cross-object narratives, clarifying 13
column selectors 16
queries 17
P
pivot tables
D charts 16
data dumps 11 columns 16
data exports 11 performance impact 15
data source trade-offs, summary 9 planning guidelines 11
data warehouse prompts
currentness of data 8 column filter 14
performance 8 differences from filters 14
as report data source 8, 11 images 15
trade-offs with transactional database 8 performance impact 14
database, transactional. See transactional
database
Q
detail reports 12
queries, combined 13
drilldowns

Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance 19


Index ■ R

R real-time 8, 17
real-time reports scalable 13
about 8 summary and detail 12
best practices 17
CAST conversion functions 17 S
cross-object queries 17 scalable reports 13
fields 17 set operations 13
record keys 15 summary reports 12
reports
about 7 T
best practices 13
transactional database
developing 9
currentness of data 9
historical analyses 7
performance 9
necessary elements 16
as report data source 9
performance impact of end user’s
trade-offs with data warehouse 8
position 13

20 Configuring Siebel CRM OnDemand Analytics for Optimal Performance