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Ewan Maalerud

Ewan Maalerud

Ewan is part of the Digital Customer Experience team for SAP Analytics Cloud, based in Vancouver, Canada. He’s passionate about data analytics and communicating the value of using data to optimize business outcomes.

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Taxonomic Hierarchy and Drilldown Functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud

Nearly all businesses use hierarchies to classify their products, services, and even their organization.

A product category, for example, such as ‘Electronics’ would be a parent to all the various types of electronics such as desktop PCs, laptops, MacBooks, etc. This hierarchy could be further broken down into all the various sub-categories, or child classes, such as brand, price, size, performance, and so on. When the hierarchy is spread out, it may look like this:

  • Electronics
    • MacBook
    • Desktop PC
    • Laptop
      • Lenovo
      • HP
      • Samsung
        • 11”
        • 13”
        • 15”
        • 17”

The hierarchy and drilldown functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud allows you to set parent-child relationships within your data so that you can dive deeper and gain more useful insights.

Hierarchies are a great way to save space in your Story since a lot of information can be packed into a single chart. It can also be a great aid when presenting since it doesn’t overwhelm your audience with details that may not be relevant at that time. To gain a better understanding of what the feature can do, let’s look at some common use cases:

A sales manager looking to track sales performance across different regions in the world can cascade the data from a global sales view all the way down to a specific city. It may look something like this:

  • Global Sales
    • Continent
      • Country
        • State
          • City

In this case, the sales manager sees sales in the U.S. outperforming other parts of the world. He can then drill down further to see which states have the highest transaction values, or who is the top performing sales associate by region.

Taxonomic Hierarchy and Drilldown Functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud

A human resources specialist may want to see how many employees the company has in total, spread out over the country. They may want to drill down deeper into certain levels. Here is an example of what that could look like:

  • Global headcount
    • Country
      • Region
        • Part-time
        • Contractors
        • Full-time
          • Development
          • Product
          • Sales

headcount taxonomic hierarchy and drilldown

A marketing manager may use the hierarchy and drilldown functionality to look at yearly subscriptions, and then see which months and days landed the most sign-ups. They may set up their hierarchy something like this:

  • Marketing Spend
    • Affiliate
    • Content
    • Pay-per-click
    • Social Media
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn

sales manager taxonomic hierarchy and drilldown

Creating a hierarchy

In our dataset, we have different categories of beverages such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated
  • Juices
  • Energy
  • Natural

We also have another dimension that specifies the different variety of drinks within each of those categories.

To create a hierarchy, we first need to select the child in the parent-child relationship. In our case, we want to select the Product dimension. Next, in the details panel to the right of the page (shown below), we can select ‘+Add Dimension Attributes’ and choose ‘Parent-Child Hierarchy (Parent)’ from the list.

creating a hierarchy SAP Analytics Cloud

Since we want to add the dimension ‘Product Category Description’, we can select that from the list.

We can add as many hierarchies as we like. When you’re finished, click ‘Create Model’.

Create Model SAP Analytics Cloud

With our model created, we can view our hierarchy and make any necessary adjustments.

hierarchy in model SAP Analytics Cloud

You can further customize your hierarchy by dragging and dropping.

Viewing a hierarchy in a story

In our story, we can create a chart based on the hierarchy dimensions we created in our model. In this example, we can see beverage types sold by three regions:

  • California
  • Nevada
  • Oregon

drill down in story chart SAP Analytics Cloud

Looking at the chart, we see a large spike in juice sales in California. Since we set up a hierarchical relationship, we can drill down to see what types of juices were sold.

By clicking anywhere on the bar, we can access more options. There you will see the drill down functionality. Clicking on it will show you the next level down on the cascade.

drilling down hierarchy SAP Analytics Cloud

If your hierarchy has multiple layers, you can continue to drill down to child layers or return to parent layers.

The hierarchy and drill down functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud is a robust feature that provides a lot of value for those looking to understand various scopes of their business.

Additional Resources

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