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Posted May 8, 2006

Mastering Enterprise BI: Introduction to Key Performance Indicators - Page 6

By William Pearson


View the New KPI in the KPI Browser

Let's process the cube again, and then view the new KPI in the KPI Browser.

20.  Select File -> Save All from the main menu, to save our work thus far, as we did earlier.

21.  Right-click the Adventure Works cube in the Solution Explorer.

22.  Select Process ... from the context menu that appears, as before.

The Process Cube dialog for the Adventure Works cube appears next, as it did earlier.

23.  Click the Run button, as before, to begin processing.

Processing begins, and we see the individual steps logged in the Process Progress viewer, once again. Processing soon completes, and we receive a Process Succeeded message in the Status bar at the bottom of the viewer, as we noted earlier.

Having updated cube metadata, we are ready to browse the cube's KPIs, including our new Growth in Internet Orders KPI.

24.  Click the Browser View button atop the KPIs view, as depicted in Illustration 36.

Illustration 36: Click the Browser View Button ...

Our new KPI, Growth in Internet Orders, appears among the rest, where it also appears to be functioning as expected. The general KPI Browser view appears as shown in Illustration 37.

Illustration 37: General KPI Browser View (Compressed)

The small blue icon to the right of each KPI (with an "i" on it to signify "information") serves dual purposes. If it is a blue "information" icon, we can display the KPI description we have assigned with a mouseover, as a tool tip. If, however, we encountered errors in generating the KPI (say, one of the MDX expressions we employed within the various expression fields was incorrect, incomplete or both), a red error icon would appear instead.

We can see with the KPI that we have a "green light" status ("very good"), and a "stable" trend. The Growth in Internet Orders KPI appears alone in Illustration 38, along with the tool tip caption that appears on the mouseover of the "i" icon.

Illustration 38: General KPI Browser View

We can visualize an array of decision support, analysis and reporting capabilities at this point, once we add in filters at various dimensional levels. In addition, we can go beyond the KPI Browser, and display KPIs in various ways in client applications. (I will be doing so within my Reporting Services series and elsewhere, to present examples of "KPIs beyond the KPI Browser"). For now, we will conclude our article, having focused upon the construction of a basic KPI to demonstrate the "multidimensional" information that these indicators can convey.

25.  Examine other features of the KPI Browser with our Growth in Internet Orders KPI, as well as the pre-existing sample KPIs, as desired.

26.  Select File -> Save All from the main menu, to save our work through this point, as we have done in earlier steps.

27.  Select File -> Exit, when ready, to leave the Business Intelligence Development Studio.


In this article, we examined Key Performance Indicators. We discussed the concepts behind KPIs, and ways that we can leverage them within the business environment for decision support, analysis and reporting purposes. Once we overviewed the features and operations of these high level, summary indicators, we set about getting some hands-on experience creating a working KPI to meet a hypothetical client need. We prepared for our practice session by "cloning" an Analysis Services Database in SQL Server Management Studio. We then shifted to Business Intelligence Development Studio, from which we accessed our database and conducted our practice exercises.

We next created a calculated measure to partially support a KPI we constructed, (the focus of our practice session). We then discussed some advantages of using calculated measures for this purpose. Next, we created a KPI, providing examples of input for various expressions within its design form, and explaining the intended action of each. Finally, we examined the KPI in operation from within the KPI Browser, focusing on its operations and basic features.

» See All Articles by Columnist William E. Pearson, III

Discuss this article in the MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and MDX Topics Forum.

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