Author: Ian Britz
In this article, we'll create the fundamental building blocks of our Application: Dimensions. Dimensions are simply tables used to organize and filter related data. For example, we could have a Geography Dimension that contains members such Argentina, Australia, and Canada; or a Department Dimension with members like Marketing, Human Resources, and Sales.
In our Application, we're going to use 5 Dimensions:
- Account - Financial accounts, such as Product Revenue, Operating Income, and Gross Margin.
- Time - A pre-generated list of years, quarters, months, and days.
- Scenario - Common business scenarios such as Actual, Plan, and Forecast.
- Product - The five different products our business is selling.
- Metric - The different product-related metrics we need to track, such as Quantity, Price, and Cost.
Let's see how to configure them below.
Step 1. Navigate to the All Dimensions node in the right-hand navigation pane. Every Application comes with an Account, Time, and Scenario Dimension pre-generated.
Step 2. Open the Time Dimension. You'll see that it's already populated with members representing the previous 5 years and next 3 years. The Dimension is further organized by Member Lists (Days, Months, Quarters, Years) which are a subset of members within a Dimension.
If you click on Configure Calendar in the corner, you can configure the Fiscal Calendar to start on a different date.
Step 3. Let's expand the Scenario Dimension. This one does not contain pre-generated members, so we'll need to add a few. In the right-hand navigation pane, select the Scenario Member List. Click the Add New button in the ribbon three times.
Step 4. Double-click on the default Member Labels and change their names to Actual, Plan, and Forecast. Make sure the check-box in the Input column is checked for Plan and Forecast. Members without this option selected won't have input capabilities on Forms. The Annotate option is used to allow text input on Dimensions.
Note: Changes made in the Dimension section will be immediately saved in the database.
Step 5. We can also export and import Member Lists from .csv files. In the Account Member List, click on the Import button in the ribbon.
Step 6. Import the account_dimension.csv file attached below.
Step 7. Your Account Dimension should now look like the example below.
You can define a Parent-Child Hierarchy in a Member List when it's set to Hierarchy mode. To switch the mode, please see the article: Configure Member List Mode.
Step 8. Now that we've configured the three pre-generated Dimensions, let's add the two additional Dimensions we'll need. Return to the All Dimensions node and click Add.
Configure the Product Dimension as in the example below.
- Dimension Name is the name of the Dimension.
- Copy From allows you to copy an existing Dimension.
- Dimension Size optimizes performance based on the number of members in the Dimension
- Create default member list creates an initial Member List with the same name as the Dimension
- Enable for member security allows this Dimension to have security applied to it. Leave un-checked for better performance.
Step 9. Within the default Product Member List, add a number of sample products.
Step 10. Now you should have no problem adding the Metric Dimension in the same way, and populating it with the following members. These metrics will be used to capture user input in our Assumptions Form later on.
Now that we have all of our Dimensions configured, in the next section we'll look at combining our Dimensions together into different Models.