The key criteria for successful reporting software is to help users meet their Business Intelligence needs as easily as possible. One of the most important requirements that comes up time and time again is the need for a time dimension hierarchy in reporting.
Dates are a critical component of reporting and data analysis in that they are used for aggregating your data by time periods such as financial years and quarters as well as for filtering so that only a relevant date range is displayed. Dates are a core part of any analysis and OLAP functionality.
If you want to drill down from year to quarter to month you need some mechanism to enable this. This has usually been achieved in a data warehouse with the use of a time dimension table. Really it is pretty easy to do but what if you want to report from your production systems – typically no transaction system comes with a date hierarchy table. Or what if you want to load production data into an in-memory database without any intermediary tables – it’s a pain.
Well if this is the kind of stuff you want to do then you are going to love Yellowfin 5.1. Without going into a mountain of detail 5.1 will let you create these hierarchies without the need for a hard coded table or complicated scripting. A date dimension table will be part of the Yellowfin view builder. This means that when setting up your meta-data layer you will simply drag in the levels of a date dimension that you require and attach these as virtual fields. Having done that you are ready to go with your date drill down.
So come November Yellowfin continues to make business intelligence that little bit easier with a virtual date dimension.