MDX in Analysis Services: Calculated Members: Leveraging Member Properties

About the Series …

This is the ninth tutorial article of the series, MDX in
Analysis Services
. The series is designed to provide hands-on
application of the fundamentals of MDX from the perspective of MS SQL Server
2000 Analysis Services
("Analysis Services,");
our primary focus is the manipulation of multidimensional data sources, using
MDX expressions in a variety of scenarios designed to meet real-world business
intelligence needs.

For more
information on the series, as well as the hardware / software requirements to
prepare for the tutorials we will undertake, please see the first lesson of
this series: MDX
Concepts and Navigation
.

Note: At the time of writing, Service
Pack 3
updates
are assumed for MSSQL Server 2000, MSSQL Server 2000 Analysis
Services
, and the related Books Online and Samples.

Introduction

In our
last tutorial, Calculated
Members: Further Considerations and Perspectives
, we continued the exploration of calculated members that we began
in the previous lesson, Calculated
Members: Introduction
. We discussed ways of handling the
creation of calculated members with MDX, and practiced the addition of multiple
calculated members
in a single MDX query. We explored additional perspectives of calculated
members along the way, including format considerations. Finally, we exposed a
means for controlling the order in which calculated members are solved,
discussing why precedence of calculation might be critical in generating the
results we expect, and examining an instance where the SOLVE_ORDER
keyword made it possible to bring about the desired results in a returned
dataset.

Our work
with calculated members in the previous lessons brings us to a new
consideration: the selection and retrieval of member properties. In
this article, we will discuss the nature of member properties, providing
illustrations of how they can be used to help us to meet our business needs. We will then focus upon the selection of member
properties within our MDX queries, using calculated members. We will see how
MDX queries allow for the selection of member properties, which are defined for
the dimensions themselves, or on individual member levels. Member properties
can be useful within the realm of business intelligence, as we shall see with
the practice example that we explore together.

William Pearson
William Pearson
Bill has been working with computers since before becoming a "big eight" CPA, after which he carried his growing information systems knowledge into management accounting, internal auditing, and various capacities of controllership. Bill entered the world of databases and financial systems when he became a consultant for CODA-Financials, a U.K. - based software company that hired only CPA's as application consultants to implement and maintain its integrated financial database - one of the most conceptually powerful, even in his current assessment, to have emerged. At CODA Bill deployed financial databases and business intelligence systems for many global clients. Working with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and Informix, and focusing on MSSQL Server, Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base over the years since. Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor and Management Accountant enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services. Moreover, as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies - Bill offers his clients the CPA's perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology. From this perspective, he helps them to effectively manage information while ensuring the data's reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, focusing his practice (since the advent of MSSQL Server 2000) upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. He leverages his years of experience with other enterprise OLAP and reporting applications (Cognos, Business Objects, Crystal, and others) in regular conversions of these once-dominant applications to the Microsoft BI stack. Bill believes it is easier to teach technical skills to people with non-technical training than vice-versa, and he constantly seeks ways to graft new technology into the Accounting and Finance arenas. Bill was awarded Microsoft SQL Server MVP in 2009. Hobbies include advanced literature studies and occasional lectures, with recent concentration upon the works of William Faulkner, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. Other long-time interests have included the exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture.

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