Your MicroStrategy project consists of several different types of objects, including dashboards, documents, reports, filters, prompts, and more. The information below explains what purpose each object serves, and describes how you can use the object to better analyze your organization's data.
Providing business context to a report: Attributes
Attributes are the business concepts reflected in your stored business data in your data source. Attributes provide a context in which to report on and analyze business facts or calculations. While knowing your company’s total sales is useful, knowing where and when the sales took place provides the kind of analytical depth users require on a daily basis.
For example, you have a report containing the Month, Year, and Region attributes, as well as a Revenue metric. When executed, the report displays your company’s revenue for each region, during each month and year for which data is available. Because of the attributes on the report, a substantial amount of information is available, including which regions produced the least revenue and which years saw the highest growth in revenue. If you remove the attributes from the report, you can only find out how much revenue the company made in total.
Calculating data on a report: Metrics
Metrics are MicroStrategy objects that represent business measures and key performance indicators. From a practical perspective, metrics are the calculations performed on data stored in your database, the results of which are displayed on a report. Metrics are similar to formulas in spreadsheet software. It is not an overstatement to say that the focus of almost any report is its metrics. Most of the decisions you make about the other objects to include on a report depend on the metrics you use on the report. Questions such as ”What were the sales for the eastern region during the fourth quarter?” or ”Are inventory counts being consistently replenished at the beginning of each week?” can easily be answered by metrics.
Filtering data on a report: Filters
A filter is the part of a MicroStrategy report that screens data in your data source to determine whether the data should be included in or excluded from the calculations of the report results. Filters are helpful in clarifying large quantities of data and only displaying subsets of that data, so reports show users what they really need to see.
For example, you want to determine the number of injuries to your delivery personnel in 2005 that may have been due to bad winter weather in the northeastern U.S. You also want to know the time of day when most injuries occurred. You place the Delivery Location and Delivery Time attributes on your report. You also place the Number of Reported Injuries metric on the report. But you only want the report to display injuries in your northeast region during the winter of 2005. Without a filter, you would have to sift through a lot of report data on your own. By creating a filter that includes Northeast Region, January 2005, and February 2005, and using that filter on the report, the data displayed when the report is executed is limited to that geographic region and season. For details, see Retrieving specific data from sources: Filters.
Asking for user input: Prompts
A prompt is a question the system presents to a user during report execution. How the user answers the question determines what data is displayed on the report when it is returned from your data source.
For example, an analyst in an accounting company needs a report designed to show actual revenue and forecasted revenue for his company’s clients. However, the analyst does not want to see data for every corporation with whom his company does business; he is only interested in seeing revenue and forecasts for certain corporations and only for the current year. The report designer can create one prompt that asks users to select which corporations they want to see data for, and another prompt that asks users what year they want to see data for. The report designer places the prompts on a report. When the analyst executes the report, he is prompted to answer these questions before the report’s SQL query is sent to the data source, and as a result the report displays revenue and forecast numbers for only those corporations and year that this analyst is interested in seeing. For details, see Asking for user input: Prompts.
Designing a report’s structure: Templates
A template is the structure that underlies any report. A template specifies the set of information that the report should retrieve from your data source, and it also determines the structure in which the information is displayed in the report’s results. A template’s structure is the location of objects on the template, such as showing that metrics have been placed in the report’s columns, and attributes have been placed in the rows; the Revenue metric has been placed to the left of the Revenue Forecast metric so that a user reading left to right can see current revenue before seeing forecasted revenue; and so on.
A dashboard is an interactive display that you can use to quickly and easily explore your business data. Visualization dashboards are quick to create and visually striking. They can be used as proofs-of-concept, to provide a quick look at data trends, to provide a framework for users to investigate data and gain insight, and so on. They require minimal steps to create and provide rich interactivity in the form of data visualizations. For details and an example image, see About dashboards.
A dashboard contains objects representing data from one or more datasets, which are sets of data that can be displayed on a dashboard or a document. A dataset can be a MicroStrategy report, a MicroStrategy Intelligent Cube, or data imported directly from an external data source. For an overview and steps to add a dataset to a dashboard, see Adding and removing datasets from a dashboard.
A MicroStrategy Report Services document displays your organization’s data in a format that is similar to a PowerPoint presentation, where several grid and graph reports can be viewed at the same time, along with images and text. A broad selection of data visualizations (called widgets) and a wide variety of formatting options, including graph styles, shapes, document headers and footers, and watermarks, allows you to customize and fine-tune the appearance of your documents.
High-quality, Pixel Perfect documents allow you to display your business data in a user-friendly way that is suitable for presentation to management for boardroom-quality material. Examples of documents include scorecards and dashboards, managed metrics documents, production and operational documents, and more. For an overview of documents, see About Report Services documents.
A document contains objects representing data from one or more datasets, which are sets of data that can be displayed on a dashboard or document. A dataset can be a MicroStrategy report, a MicroStrategy Intelligent Cube, or data imported directly from an external data source. For an overview and steps to add a dataset to a document, see the Document Creation Guide.
A report is a MicroStrategy object that represents a request for a specific set of formatted data from your data source. In its most basic form it consists of two parts:
|•||A report template (usually simply called a template), which is the underlying structure of the report.|
|•||The report-related objects placed on the template, such as attributes, metrics, filters, and prompts.|
For details, see About reports.