When first explored, MDX can be intimidating and confusing. It is different enough even from SQL (which it mimics) that it can feel like a foreign language compared with prior experience with query or programming languages. Much can be accomplished with MDX and it behooves all Essbase professionals, even Smart View users, to jump in and make it an integral part of their toolset. Thankfully, one does not have to be fully proficient in it to be very productive using it. The best path towards full mastery is a step-by-step approach that intentionally avoids the distraction of trying to understand anything and everything at once. This presentation first builds the foundation and makes the topic approachable by replacing MDX-oriented terms with Essbase/Smart View-oriented ones that remove terminological distractions. One will have the sense that exploring large amounts of data to extract patterns and information is not that difficult after all. Awkward Smart View queries that can be translated into simple MDX queries are a good incentive to learn MDX. Imagine never again having to set up a template and then spending several minutes repetitively drilling down, switching options along the way, to finally reach some hidden intermediate level in order to find out if there is some data discrepancy. SELECT, DESCENDANTS() along with maybe a couple of CROSSJOINS(), a UNION() and a FILTER() might be all you need to effortlessly reply to months' worth of requests of this kind. Even these very few keywords can be learned progressively, accomplishing much along the way with only a subset of them. But the presentation will not stop there. We will progressively travel into more exotic lands by delving into more complex syntax.
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