IMS5004 On line analytical processing and business intelligence - Semester 2 , 2006 unit guide

Semester 2, 2006

Chief Examiner

Peter O'Donnell


Caulfield : Peter O'Donnell


This subject provides students with an understanding of the nature of OLAP-based systems and the issues that need to be considered in their development. Topics include the definitions of on-line analytical processing (OLAP), business intelligence (BI) and executive information systems (EIS); initiating a BI or EIS project; eliciting information requirements (Critical Success Factor (CSF) approach, Strategic Business Functions (SBF) approach, the Balanced Scorecard approach); OLAP architecture; Data Management (including the relationship of the OLAP system to the data warehouse), BI and EIS development methodologies, BI and EIS design issues; Change management and organisational issues. Case studies and OLAP tools will also be used for practical work.


Knowledge and Understanding

At the completion of the subject students will have knowledge of:

C1. The scope and application of OLAP technology and business intelligence systems

C2. The major approaches to the development of business intelligence systems

Students will gain an understanding of:

C3. The process of business intelligence systems development

C4. The role and use of some analysis methods, tools and technologies appropriate for the development of a business intelligence system

C5. The impact of a business intelligence system upon the organisation and its users

Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

Development of attitudes that allow them to:

A1. Communicate and foster realistic expectations of the role of OLAP technology and business intelligence systems in management and decision support.

Practical Skills

Development of skills in:

P1. Design simple multi-dimensional databases

P2. Develop a simple business intelligence system using an OLAP tool

Relationships, Communication and TeamWork

An appreciation of:

S1. The skills required to be able to work with a managerial decision maker to improve the decision process through the use of OLAP-based systems

S2. How to communicate effectively the benefits and shortcomings of business intelligence to associated business and professional groups


Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed the units IMS9003, IMS9049, or equivalent units.

Unit relationships

Students studying this unit will need to have an understanding of relational database management software and of database design (IMS9003) and a basic understanding of personal productivity software (IMS9049).


Texts and software

Required text(s)

In addition to the texts listed below extensive reading will be made available to students using the library's digital scanning service.

Liautaud, B. & Hammond, M. (2000). E-Business Intelligence: Turning information into knowledge into profit. McGraw-Hill.

Thomsen, E. (2002). OLAP Solutions: Building Multidimensional Information Systems (2nd Ed.). Wiley.

Vitt ,E., Luckevich, M. & Misner, S. (2002). Business Intelligence. Microsoft Press.

Textbook availability

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements

The unit will make extensive use of a wide variety of OLAP and business intelligence software packages which might include (details being finalised) Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services, Crystal Reports, Crystal Analysis and MIS AG OnVision.

Hardware requirements

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the Faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 8 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

In addition to the texts listed below extensive reading will be made available to students using the library's digital scanning service and posted on the unit web site.

Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for IMS5004 are:

This unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit

The unit  web site, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial requirements, assignment specifications, and supplementary material will be posted.

Unit website

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Key Dates
1 Introduction to the subject and to OLAP and Business Intelligence
2 The nature of business intelligence systems
3 Business Intelligence case studies (I)
4 The Monash BI development method
5 Busness intelligence technology
6 Multi-dimensional modelling (I)
7 Multi-dimensional modelling (II)
8 Business Performance Measurement (I)
9 Business Performance Measurement (II)
10 Interface design for Business Intelligence systems
Non teaching week
11 Business Performance Measurement (III)
12 BI Case studies (II) Assignment due
13 Revision and the future of BI


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

An assignment and an examination (50% weighting each) will be used to assess whether you have achieved the objectives of the subject.

The assignment will involve the development of an OLAP-based software system and will be submitted at the end of the semester (end of week 12).

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

The 40% rule applies to this unit and determines the final result for a student where the student's performance in either the examination or assignment component of the unit is unsatisfactory. Students need to be aware of the 40% rule which is:
In order to pass the unit, a student must gain all of the following:

  • at least 40% of the marks available for the examination component: i.e. the final examination and any tests performed under exam conditions, taken as a whole
  • at least 40% of the marks available for the assignment component: i.e. the assignments and any other other assessment tasks (such as presentations) taken as a whole
  • at least 50% of the total marks for the unit
Where a student gains less than 40% for either the examination or assignment component, the final result for the unit will be no greater than ‘44-N’.

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

See above.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
BI Prototype development End of week 12 50%
The exam is 2 hours long and is closed book. Exam period (S2/06) starts on 23/10/06 50 %

Assignment specifications will be made available on the IMS5004 unit web site (check the assignments page at

Assignment Submission

Assignments will be submitted by electronic submission via the unti web site. For more details refer to that web site. Do not email submissions.

Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due may be subject to a penalty of 5% per day.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit leader at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt. The result and feedback will be posted on the "My Assignments" section of the unit web page.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

Outside the scheduled class contact hours, you can contact teaching staff by email, phone, during their consultation hours (available on unit webpage or at the Caulfield School of IT service desk) or by making an appointment.  If you need a staff member urgently and are unable to contact them, please contact Caulfield School of IT service desk, Level 6 – Building H, Ph: 9903 2535.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the home page of the unit website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the the unit web site will not be regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

See the unit web site.

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Mr Peter O'Donnell
Phone +61 3 990 32502

Mr Priyank Gupta

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Jul 11, 2006