For anyone attending the SQL 2008 Academy on Friday (link here) we are going to be showing some details on project Gemini technology included in SQL 2008 R2, which is probably the first look at this exciting new self service BI platform in Ireland.
This is going to be a HUGE impact in the BI marker worldwide - The use of in memory self service BI is already the fastest growing type of BI engine and now we will be able to choose between the classic OLAP model and the in memory architecture.
This sort of technology is going to be fantastic for developing proto types and quick dashboards. What might have taken a lot of skill and weeks with traditional OLAP and presentation tier development will now take hours and a couple of trained monkeys.
One concern I have when designing solutions is deciding on the line between when to traditional OLAP cubes and when to use a Gemini style solution and when to use a hybrid. The empowerment of end users is great, but there must become a point when a more structured OLAP cube becomes the more sensible solution. I'm sure I'll get closer to an answer after we get more familiar with the technology.
I guess I predict that when Gemini comes out we will see solutions that should have been developed in Gemini done in OLAP cubes and visa versa. still progress is good, I look forward to riding the wave.