tim laqua dot com Thoughts and Code from Tim Laqua


Analysis Services Writeback – Working with Weight Expressions

While writeback has been around for a while, it didn't really get easy to do until Excel 2010 was released because wrapping a UI around it was cumbersome. Now that we have a simple writeback UI via the What-If analysis dialogs in Excel, it's pry worth poking around at how to get things to allocate the way you want.

Here's our starting point in the Adventure Works cube (note, I commented out all the scope statements in the MDX script that distribute quarterly quotas/targets to months - in AW, quotas only exist in the data warehouse at the calendar quarter level):

Let's start with something simple - Equal Allocation:


VersionOne Nag: Reminding Us To Burn Our Points

You'll forget - we all do. After a hard day of work, the last thing that pops in to your head is "hey, I should go update this story in VersionOne before I go home." Oh no, the only thing you're thinking about is how bad traffic will be, what you're having for dinner, your trip to Seattle, which bar has the best drink specials tonight, etc. So accepting that we forget to burn points now and then, why don't we just make a script to remind us? While you're at it, might as well add a reminder for when you accidentally close a story without setting the ToDo points to zero.

Luckily, since you obviously use VersionOne (because it's the gold standard), there's an API for that:


Wouldn’t it be fun if Cubes could talk?

I didn't say "wouldn't it be useful" because after putting a test together, asking a cube questions with no context tends to return answers that it probably shouldn't have returned. In BI, it is incredibly important to understand what exactly it is you're asking for - if we just say we want "sales" and return an answer, nobody really knows what we meant by "sales." Sure, in various circles, "sales" means the same thing - but once you start talking to different areas, departments, etc - the meaning of the word starts to shift.

But I digress - asking cubes questions is still pretty fun and some of the random things it returns when you point it at your own cubes can be flat out hilarious.

Here's a few questions thrown at the Adventure Works cube in the Adventure Works DW 2008 Analysis Services database


Customer Service at the Golf Course (the customer is NOT always right)

In most businesses, the name of the game is giving the customer what they want when they want it. Putting the right opportunities in front of them at the right time. At the golf course (the elitist ones), the game changes quite a bit. Take the Pro Shop for example - everything is overpriced, at least 20% above what you could get it for at TGW or GolfGalaxy. Why? Because if you're in need of something before a round and you remember just as you're standing in the pro shop, you're certainly not going to hop in your car and head over to GolfGalaxy - you just buy it there, you're trapped more or less. Don't even bother trying to work with the pro shop guys on the price either, they could care less. Which brings me to my second point - the staff.


The Ellipsis … stop abusing it!

I have no idea how many times in the last week I've fell prey to the errant ellipsis. You see it in an instant message and then wait for the rest of the thought like a dog awaiting a promised treat. Alas, nothing follows. Do you ask for the rest of the thought? Do you wait and try to followup next time you see them in person? Or... Even worse... do they not know what an ellipsis means? For some reason more often than not lately I have been a victim of the "I just end sentences with multiple periods" syndrome. Stop it. You can not add extra periods to imply that you are super duper done with your statement. Sure, extra exclimation points are good fun - but extra periods like... mean something - they don't indicate extra done-ness.

Now, I'm certainly not a grammar specialist, but when I see an ellipsis, I get all excited waiting for the held back nugget of drama. Then when it doesn't come I am sad. So, so sad. So please. One period means "statement over," while more than one means "more awesome stuff to come."

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Starting a Business = Divorce?

So I was trying to find some sort of "start a business" packet with all the required forms and such - so I naturally searched Google for "minnesota start a business packet"

And what is the 3rd ranked hit? Starting a divorce. Nice.

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