MDX in Analysis Services: Mastering Time: Period – to – Date Aggregations

About the Series …

This is the sixteenth 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
("MSAS"); 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.
The screen shots that appear in this article were taken from a Windows 2003
Server, and may appear somewhat different from coinciding views in other
operating systems.

Introduction

In our
last article, Mastering
Time: Change across Periods
, we began a focus on the Time dimension from the
perspective of our MDX queries. Our intent, then and in subsequent articles,
is to begin an exploration of ways to effectively report change over time,
as well as to accumulate those changes to present snapshots, trends and
other time-based metrics in a precise manner to meet typical business
requirements.

In Change
across Periods
, we began with a discussion of general business needs as
related to the concept of relative time. We then undertook a practical,
multi-step exercise, based upon a hypothetical business need, to illustrate a
potential solution for a stated requirement. We captured changes over time,
while applying the same MDX logic to all levels of the Time hierarchy,
within an illustration where we met a stated set of business needs.

In
this article, we will examine "period-to-date" aggregations, a
common business requirement. Year-to-Date totals top the list in
popularity here, but the same concept of accumulation over a period range
applies at subordinate time levels, as well. We will examine the means of
managing such requirements, using MDX within MSAS to accomplish our ends. We
will then undertake a multi-step practice example that activates the underlying
concepts, discussing our objectives with each step, as well as the results we
obtain with each.

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.

Latest Articles