Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Use Virtual Time Hierarchies for Flexible Reporting with Time Characteristics

Activating virtual time hierarchies provides a flexible and convenient option for reporting on time characteristics. Not only is it simple to implement, it can immediately increase the functionality available to query designers and users. It can deliver reports with summary time groupings on existing time characteristics (based on 0DATE, 0CALMONTH, 0CALMONTH2, and 0FISCPER) with no changes required to the data targets.

Key Concept

Virtual time hierarchies allow users to report time-related characteristics in various hierarchical layouts without creating custom hierarchies or including such functionality in the design of data targets.

Have you ever been required to provide a summarized monthly report based on an InfoProvider that contains only a date field as a time characteristic? How about providing the same data by year (fiscal or calendar) or even in weekly buckets? What do you do with Info­Providers with multiple date fields? Should you include month and year data for every date field in a data model just in case there is a need to report on those dates in an aggregated manner?

For example, assume you have a requirement to determine the monthly usage for the BW system, but the BW Statistics InfoCube (0BWTC_C10) contains only a calendar day (0CALDAY) time characteristic. How can you complete this request in a timely manner and also be able to re-use it as needed?

While several options exist, from incorporating additional characteristics in the InfoCube to executing macros on the results, the use of virtual time hierarchies allows you to quickly and easily address this requirement. Once implemented, the hierarchies are available for use on any InfoProvider containing the relevant time characteristics, thus immediately expanding time-based reporting opportunities.

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