The 5-Second Unified Stock and Sales Report

  • Ed Thompson, CTO
  • December 10, 2013

inventory-analysis-5-second-unified-stock-and-sales-reportWhat if it were possible to obtain unified sales and stock analysis reports in a matter of seconds, not the usual hours? It is. Step forward, the ‘virtual cube’.

Chances are that currently your business uses at least one database ¬ – and probably more. But it’s likely that these databases store information about sales and stock separately. This data admittedly contains an abundance of information that can help you make informed decisions about your business, and improve your sales analysis and inventory analysis.

But because the information is stored separately, there is only so much reporting you can do before you will reach the inevitable dead end.

You can spend a lot of time and money trying to extract business intelligence systems information from your database  ¬– and then trying to manipulate this manually in order to combine your stock and sales. But if the report doesn’t have the correct information, it’s back to the drawing board.

And that’s the best-case scenario. What if your business decisions are being driven by reports with inaccurate and unreliable data? It’s no surprise you have lost profits this year. Your sales and inventory analyses have become versions of manipulated data that are no use to anyone.

However, what if you had access to reliable data which was a single version of reality – data you could use to ask and answer all your sales and stock analysis questions? Better still let’s combine this data and drive your business forward, with a unified view of both sales and inventory.

Combining different data sources in this way is known as a ‘virtual cube’ and it means that information which  may once have taken five hours to produce can be summoned up within five seconds.  And it is something that we here at Matillion can do for you.

If you want to answer based on the last 90 days’ sales, next 90 days’ orders and livestock position to answer the question ‘how much of this product should I buy?’ We can build a cube report that will tell you the answer.

Put simply, cubes are sections of data built from tables in your database. They contain calculations and are often assembled around explicit business functions.

There will be one cube for sales analysis, one for purchasing analysis, another for inventory analysis, and so on, with each cube containing relevant and beneficial measures for that particular area of the business.

A virtual cube works by combining the common element between these cubes. This could be the date, the customer or the product, for example. Using this element, we can combine sales orders, order book, sales invoices and purchase orders to provide the user with a global view of the business in one report.

The diagram below shows how various sources of information are pulled together to become a virtual cube.


The old process of building reports from multiple data sources can be time-consuming and wearisome, if not utterly impossible, especially for non-technical staff. Reporting on multiple tables can cause performance issues as well, especially with large data sets.

But now we have our virtual cube.

Cubes are at a remarkable advantage because of the way they are structured: the heavy lifting is already done through pre-calculation. When you want to get answers from your data, instead of searching multiple tables in your database, your request will go straight to the cubes.

End users no longer need worry about how to link all of the tables together. You just receive the information you need to make the business succeed.

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The sales and inventory analysis report above is a quick example of the power of virtual cubes. These we can provide for you.

If you are interested in knowing more about how sales and inventory analysis can benefit your business register for our webinar below.