Working With Data Overview


There are two ways that you can connect to data in Business User Edition. You can upload a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or CSV file using the Upload wizard, or you can connect to an existing table in a data source of your choice, using the Connect to Data wizard. Both processes begin with identifying and preparing the data that you want to use. After your file or table selection is complete, the wizard shows you the default breakdown of your data as measures, dimensions, and hierarchies.

At similar points during the upload and connect processes, you can access options to transform your data beyond the default settings. This includes joining multiple tables into a cluster to create more fields and expand the scope of a synonym, editing geo roles and geo encoding to prepare the synonym for use in mapping and location analysis, data profiling and statistical analysis, changing columns or groups of columns into rows, and creating new or editing existing field roles.

Once a synonym is complete, you can upload it to a target environment or append it or merge it with an existing synonym. You can also save it as a template to allow repeated transformations if the same file is uploaded again in the future.

Understanding Your Data Structures

When you upload or connect to data in Business User Edition, you create a synonym that can be used to build analytical content. Synonyms define unique names (or aliases) for each object that is accessible from the Reporting Server. Synonyms are useful because they hide the underlying data source location and identity from client applications. They also provide support for extended metadata features of the Reporting Server, such as virtual fields and additional security mechanisms.

Depending on the structure of the synonym that you are creating, the data inside a synonym is typically broken down into categorized roles, such as measures (facts), dimensions, hierarchy levels, and attributes.

A measure or fact is a numeric value, such as Gross Profit or Cost of Goods Sold, that you can aggregate. Numeric fields that cannot be summed, such as product number or order ID, are not categorized as measures. Instead, they may be used in the same way as dimension fields to analyze measures.

A dimension is a way to categorize data or sort output. You can use a dimension to analyze and compare measures. Usually, dimension fields are alphanumeric fields such as Product. Certain dimension fields can be organized into hierarchies to define the relationship between the fields. For example, a Geography hierarchy can contain the Region, Country, State, and City fields.

An attribute is a field or collection of fields that provide additional information about a dimension.

Using the Business View Plus (BV+), you can create a view of your data that represents its business use by creating virtual segments called folders and adding fields to these folders. You have the flexibility to create folders anywhere in the structure, as well as reusing fields in multiple folders. You can then categorize those folders and fields as measures, dimensions, hierarchy levels, or attributes.