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Configuring Dimensions

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Modified on Tue, 23 Jul 2013 02:12 PM Categorized as Dimensions, Filtering, KPIs, OLAP
Click to return to: Documentation | Defining KPIs


Overview

The Dimensions tab of the KPI Designer lets you configure the dimensions that were chosen through the KPI Setup Wizard. The configuration steps in this tab are different depending on whether your KPI is based on a virtual table or a virtual cube (OLAP).

KPI based on a virtual table

If your KPI is based on a virtual table, the dimensions that you chose through the setup wizard are classified as instant dimensions. Such dimensions are implicitly created and have only a single level. From the Dimensions tab, you can rename these dimensions, add descriptions, define filters, or associate look-up tables.

The Dimensions tab in the KPI Designer (virtual table-based).

The Dimensions tab in the KPI Designer (virtual table-based).


Alternatively, if you have previously defined standard or time dimensions, you can replace an instant dimension with one of these existing, compatible dimensions. This is useful for adding more capabilities to your KPI, such as support for advanced filtering (⪚ multi-level user-selectable filters) and drill-downs.

As an example of filtering using existing dimensions, the dashboard below displays a KPI that has a filter defined on a standard dimension. The filter is connected to a dashboard parameter, which appears on the dashboard in the form of a multi-level, user-selectable control.

A dashboard showing a KPI with a multi-level filter.

A dashboard showing a KPI with a multi-level filter.


Adding dimension fields

The virtual table columns that you chose through the KPI Setup wizard are listed in the Instant Dimension Fields grid. Each row in this grid shows the properties for a single instant dimension. You can edit most of these dimension properties directly in the grid itself.

If you want to add other dimension fields from the base virtual table to your KPI, click the Add Dimension Field button in the top-left corner.

Adding dimension fields.

Adding dimension fields.


Defining axes and splitters

Click the Define Axes and Splitters button to choose which of your instant dimensions should appear on the visualization axis, and which should be used as a series splitter.

Basically, this option lets you reconfigure the axes/splitter choices you already made in the KPI Setup wizard.

Defining axes and splitters.

Defining axes and splitters.


Changing the name or description

To change the name or description of an instant dimension:

  1. In the Instant Dimension Fields grid, select the cell that contains the name (or description) you want to change (if it is not already selected).
  2. Click inside the cell to begin editing.
  3. Type the new name (or description) in the text box, then press ENTER.

Defining a filter

This section shows how to define a data filter on an instant dimension and optionally make it public. A public filter can be connected to a dashboard parameter and ultimately displayed on the dashboard in the form of a selection control (⪚ dropdown list).

Tip: You can also define a data filter on a calculated column that is based on a database expression using similar steps as below.

To define a filter on an instant dimension:

  1. Click the Configure Instant Dimension Filter button in the Action grid column that corresponds to your instant dimension. The Data Filter Setup Wizard is displayed.
    Configure instant dimension filter.
  2. Follow the steps as shown in the article, Defining a Filter, to set up the instant dimension filter.
  3. Optionally add validation rules for filter values as shown in the article, Defining Validation Rules.

The Field Attributes cell in the Instant Dimension Fields grid will be updated to reflect the changes made to the filter. Hover over an attribute icon with your mouse to see a tooltip describing the attribute. For example, in the figure below, the attributes for the Product SKU instant dimension indicate that:

  • The instant dimension appears on the visualization axis (&ie; x-axis).
  • The filter is private (&ie; will not be accessible to dashboard designers).
  • The filter is for single value selection (as opposed to range or multiple value selection).
  • No validation rules have been placed on filter values.

A filter defined on an instant dimension.

A filter defined on an instant dimension.


Tip: A public filter with default settings is automatically created for each of your instant dimensions when you complete the KPI Setup Wizard. If you don't need a specific filter you can remove it by clicking the Remove associated filter button in the Action grid column.

Dynamic filters

A dynamic filter can be applied to an instant dimension that appears on the visualization axis, to give users the ability to switch dimensions on-the-fly while viewing a dashboard. For more details, see Dynamic Filters.

Using a look-up table

There are situations where the data from your virtual tables is less than optimal. For example, your KPI may be based on a virtual table that has a Country ID column but lacks a corresponding name or description column. In this case, you can perform a join with another virtual table for look-up purposes.

The figure below shows the Instant Dimension Fields grid for a KPI with a Country ID dimension.

A KPI with a Country ID dimension.

A KPI with a Country ID dimension.


To join with a column from a look-up table:

  1. Click the button in the Look-Up grid column that corresponds to your instant dimension. The Data Field Look-Up Wizard is displayed.
  2. Use the wizard the make the association with a column from another virtual table. See Using a Look-up Table.
  3. The name of the instant dimension in the grid is replaced with the look-up column name.

Using a column from a look-up table.

Using a column from a look-up table.


Replacing an instant dimension with an existing dimension

In the Dimensions tab of the KPI Designer, you can choose to replace an instant dimension with an existing standard or time dimension that is defined in the current &dw; project. This lets you take advantage of the hierarchy, labeling, and sorting rules defined by the existing dimension. This option is useful for setting up multi-level filters, drill-downs, and hover-overs.

As an example, if your KPI has a Product ID instant dimension, you can choose to replace it with a standard dimension, Product, which has multiple levels such as Product Group, Product Subgroup, and Product Item.

Buttons for replacing instant dimensions.

Buttons for replacing instant dimensions.


When you replace an instant dimension, it is removed from the Instant Dimension Fields grid and a corresponding dimension entry is added to the Existing Dimensions grid.

See Using an Existing Dimension for more details.

KPI based on a virtual cube (OLAP)

For a KPI based on a virtual cube, the Dimensions tab lists the OLAP dimensions that you selected through the KPI Setup Wizard. You can change the name or description of any dimension, or reconfigure the default filter which is automatically created for each dimension.

The Dimensions tab in the KPI Designer (virtual cube-based).

The Dimensions tab in the KPI Designer (virtual cube-based).


Changing the name or description

To change the name or description of a dimension:

  1. In the Dimensions grid, select the cell that contains the name (or description) you want to change (if it is not already selected).
  2. Click inside the cell to begin editing.
  3. Type the new name (or description) in the text box, then press ENTER.

Defining an OLAP filter

Each OLAP dimension will have a public filter already defined by default. A public filter can be connected to a dashboard parameter and ultimately displayed on the dashboard in the form of a selection control (⪚ dropdown list).

To configure the filter for a dimension:

  1. Click the Configure Dimension Filter button in the Action grid column that corresponds to your OLAP dimension. A wizard is displayed, which lets you set up a filter on the dimension.
    Configure Dimension Filter button.
  2. Follow the steps as shown in the article, Defining a Filter, to set up the OLAP dimension filter.

The Filter Attributes cell in the grid will be updated to reflect the changes made to the OLAP dimension filter. Hover over an attribute icon with your mouse to see a tooltip describing the attribute.

Examples

In the following examples, assume that an existing standard dimension is available, which has two levels defined: Product Group and Product Item.

A dashboard with a multi-level filter

A dashboard showing a KPI with a multi-level filter.

A dashboard showing a KPI with a multi-level filter.


To create this dashboard:

  1. Set up the KPI with the following attributes:
    • Measure: Number of Downloads
    • Instant dimension: Product ID
    • Visualization axis: Product ID
  2. Replace the Product ID instant dimension with the existing standard dimension, which has two levels (Product Group and Product Item).
  3. Set up the filter on the existing dimension with the following attributes:
    • Public: Yes
    • Allow the (All) member to be selected: Yes
    • Default Dimension Grain: Product Item
    • Default value: (All)
  4. Save and check-in the KPI.
  5. Create a new dashboard and drag the KPI onto the design surface. The KPI appears in the form of a bar chart.
  6. Create a dashboard parameter and connect it to the existing dimension filter from the KPI.
  7. Drag the parameter onto the design surface.
  8. Preview and test the completed dashboard.

Drill-down to the same dashboard

The dashboard before drill-down.

The dashboard before drill-down.

The dashboard after drill-down.

The dashboard after drill-down.


To create this dashboard:

  1. Set up the KPI with the following attributes:
    • Measure: Number of Downloads
    • Instant dimension: Product ID
    • Visualization axis: Product ID
  2. Replace the Product ID instant dimension with the existing standard dimension, which has two levels (Product Group and Product Item).
  3. Set up the filter on the existing dimension with the following attributes:
    • Public: Yes
    • Allow the (All) member to be selected: Yes
    • Default Dimension Grain: Product Group
    • User selectable grain: Yes
    • Default value: Audio
  4. Save and check-in the KPI.
  5. Create a dashboard and drag the KPI onto the design surface. The KPI appears in the form of a bar chart.
  6. Create a dashboard parameter and connect it to the existing dimension's Grain filter from the KPI.
  7. From the bar chart's context menu, point to Interactions, then choose Set up Drill-Down to make a connection to the dashboard parameter.
  8. Preview and test the completed dashboard by clicking on the Audio data point.

If you want to create a hover-over effect instead of a drill-down (&ie; hover over a data point with your mouse to see a preview of the detailed data points), choose the Set up Hover-Over option from the bar chart's menu and connect it to the dashboard parameter.

For a more examples of drill-down and hover-over, see Adding Parameters.

Unknown members

The (Unknown) member category is used to classify data that does not belong to any of the members defined by a standard dimension.

The following example shows how the (Unknown) member is used during KPI design:

  1. Consider a standard dimension, Geography, which contains a single level, States. This dimension was created based on a virtual table that had incomplete data. A preview of the dimension is shown in the figure below.
    Preview of the Geography dimension.
  2. Open the Standard Dimension Designer for the Geography dimension and go to the Level Definition tab.
  3. In the Unknown member name box, enter (UnknownStates).
  4. Create a KPI based on a different virtual table that reports Total Sales by State. Set up the KPI with the following attributes:
    • Measure: TotalSales
    • Instant dimension: StateID
    • Visualization axis: StateID
  5. Replace the StateID instant dimension with the Geography dimension.
  6. Set up the filter on the Geography dimension with the following attributes:
    • Public: Yes
    • Allow the (All) member to be selected: Yes
    • Unknown members included: Yes
    • Default Dimension Grain: States
    • Default value: (All)
  7. Preview your KPI.
    Preview of the KPI.

Observe that the KPI data contains a 6th sales record. This record has a StateID value of 6, which is not defined by the Geography dimension. Therefore, this record is classified under the (UnknownStates) member.

Related topics


Click to return to: Documentation | Defining KPIs

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