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Time Intelligence Wizard – Part 2 (User Hierarchies)

By David Novick, Pyramid Analytics Technical Writer


Part 2 of of this blog series focuses on the handling of user hierarchies within the TI Wizard. If you haven’t yet read through Part 1 we recommend that you do so at this time, since Part 2 builds directly on the tips & techniques that we presented in Part 1.


The screenshot below shows a full display of all possible TI functions for the user hierarchy named “Month Dates”. We recommend that our users adopt a simple two-stage approach for working with user hierarchies.

  • STAGE A – In this stage you view all possible TI functions that are available for the specific dimension/hierarchy that you choose.
  • STAGE B – In this stage you decide which of the available TI functions you wish to generate for the chosen hierarchy.  

Adopting the two stage approach is important because of the interactive nature of user hierarchies within the TI Wizard. As you make Dimension, Hierarchy, Level and Level Type selections, the available TI functions will appear in the right-most column. As you deselect one or more Levels, some of those TI functions may disappear from the right-most column.

To view all valid IT functions for a given user hierarchy, two conditions must be met:

  • All Level boxes in the left-most column must be checked. Please note that for some user hierarchies it may be necessary to scroll up/down to view all Level boxes.
  • For each Level box, you are required to select the matching Level Type in the middle column. The red arrows (in above screenshot) point to such matching pairs: Year-Year, Quarter-Quarter, etc.

The number of Levels may vary between different user hierarchies. In the "Month Dates" user hierarchy shown above, there are four Levels present. But in other user hierarchies there may be less than four Levels or perhaps more than four.

Leaving the Caption empty serves as a “failsafe mechanism” to ensure that we cannot accidentally launch the wizard before we have reviewed all possible TI functions and decided which ones to use. As long as the Caption field is empty, the Next and Finish buttons will remain inactive.

Each user hierarchy allows you to generate a large assortment of TI functions. It's quite rare that you will use all these functions in parallel. In most cases, you will probably select just a few TI functions for inclusion in a report. In the following section, we will walk you thru the setup process for a TI function known as “Quarter-on-Quarter”.

In this example, we use QTR-ON-QTR as the caption and set up the TI Wizard to create the QoQ function, as shown below. We click the Finish button to skip over the Wizard Summary and proceed directly to the generation of our QTR-ON-QTR elements in the Custom Elements folder.

The wizard generates a slicer which can be used to select a quarter such as “Qtr 2 2010”. Changing the quarter selection and pressing F2 will update the grid contents accordingly. The wizard also generates three Custom Elements which can be used to populate the grid:

  •  Set – Displays the selected quarter and the previous quarter.
  •  % - Displays the quarter on quarter sales change as a percentage.
  •  Member – Displays the quarter on quarter sales change as an amount. The amount might represent USDs, Euros, Pounds, Pesos or some other currency, depending on the data model definitions.

Time Intelligence in Story Board

The true power of the Time Intelligence wizard lies in the fact that the TI functions are fully accessible by the user in Story Board runtime mode. In the example shown below, the QTR-ON-QTR slicer can be used to compare sales figures for any two months. In this case, we have selected Q1 2009 to compare it to the final quarter of 2008.

To continue in this blog series, see Time Intelligence Wizard – Part 3 (Parameterization).

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