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vCube is a Microsoft Excel add-in that allows users to visualize and navigate through any dimensional data mart as if it were an OLAP cube. Using the Virtual Cube designer module, IT specialists or power users can easily create a cube-like representation of a source data mart within a few minutes.

The add-in will then use this representation to automatically generate and execute a wide range of queries according to the actions of the user.

Most companies that implemented a dimensional data warehouse have purchased full-featured business intelligence applications to provide a user-friendly toolset for general users to easily query the warehouse. Some of these applications provide Excel add-ins as part of their offerings but these add ins are generally not as flexible or powerful as the ones provided by OLAP database vendors.

One solution to this functional gap is to build a series of OLAP cubes on top of the corporate warehouse so that the Excel user base can access the data with a decent add-in. This approach is very flexible but it can be relatively expensive both in OLAP licenses and development efforts.

This is especially true for cubes that are used by a small number of users or for a short period of time (year-end, month-end, etc.). The use of the vCube add-in is especially relevant in these cases since its virtual cube designer allows for the creation of an OLAP-like representation of the underlying dimensional data mart within minutes.

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