OLAP Council Releases Interoperability Standard for OLAP Products

API Specification is First Step Toward Creation of Standard
Data Access Interface Between OLAP Servers and Clients

BOSTON, September 16, 1996— The OLAP Council, an open association of on-line analytical processing (OLAP) software and service vendors, today released the first interoperability standard for OLAP products, the Multi-Dimensional Application Programmers Interface (MDAPI™)specification.

The OLAP MDAPI V .5 provides the first, multi-vendor interface specification for accessing and managing multidimensional views of data from OLAP data sources. It offers a single, vendor-independent link between front-end access software and OLAP data sources. The MDAPI promotes interoperability and simplifies the incorporation of multi-dimensional data access and analysis into any application.

The MDAPI Version .5, available as of Sept. 16 on the OLAP Council Web site at http://www.olapcouncil.org is an open specification based upon input from all members of the OLAP Council. For 90 days, the MDAPI is open to public comment (e-mail comments to admin@olapcouncil.org). A final Version 1.0 will be released after public comments are incorporated. The specification includes a test case of a client/server, Windows-based implementation, and is a "browse only" version in which users can review and retrieve information, but can not update the information.

"The MDAPI streamlines users' ability to access and manage data from many OLAP server sources," said Rick Crandall, an OLAP Council spokesman and Comshare Chairman. "The interface also makes it easier for OLAP front-end software vendors to create products without having to build separate interfaces for each OLAP server. It will allow consultants and developers to simplify application development. This MDAPI represents a major step in OLAP technology and a milestone in the OLAP Council's evolution."

"The Council's API initiative can be a boon to users as it becomes widely adopted by vendors. It will enable users to mix and match heterogeneous OLAP servers and have all OLAP data accessible through a standard interface," said Richard F. Creeth, president of Creeth, Richman & Associates, a 10-year old consulting firm specializing in financial OLAP applications, and co-author of The OLAP Report. "Vendors of front-end software for OLAP servers will have a robust and full-featured API, which will allow them to provide powerful new capabilities for their customers."

The OLAP Council, in its first API version, is addressing two top priorities, data display for reporting and viewing, and navigation of both multi-dimensional data and its supporting meta data. Later versions of the API, expected over the next two years, will address updating and write-back capabilities, and the creation and modification of data base structures.

The OLAP Council was founded to provide education about OLAP technology for business intelligence applications and to help position OLAP within a broader IT architecture. The Council's mission includes sponsoring industry research and working to establish guidelines for OLAP interoperability and data navigation.

The Council, established in January 1995, now includes sixteen general members — Arbor Software Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif.; Business Objects, Inc. of Paris, France and Cupertino, Calif.; Cognos of Burlington, Mass. and Ottawa, Ont.; Comshare, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Holistic Systems Ltd. of London; IBM Decision Support Solutions of San Jose, Calif., IRI Software of Waltham, Mass.; Oracle Corp. of Waltham, Mass.; Pilot Software of Cambridge, Mass.; Platinum technology, inc. of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.; and Planning Sciences International Ltd. of London, KPMG Peat Marwick LLP of Radnor, Penn.; Kenan Technologies of Cambridge, Mass.; Management Science Associates, Inc. of Pittsburgh; TM1 Software (formerly Sinper Corp.) of Warren, N.J.; and Speedware Corp. of Montreal.

Criteria for Council membership, in addition to payment of annual dues, includes support for the Council's fundamental tenets of on-line analytical processing.

For information about membership in the OLAP Council, call David Lourie, the OLAP Council executive director, at (617) 489-9807.

1997 OLAP Council, all rights reserved.