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Oracle® Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Help
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)
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What Are Dimensions and Pinned Dimension Values?

Dimensions are categorizations of data, and the categorizations reflect how a business analyst wants to analyze data. When analysts say they want to see numbers "by" something or "over" something, they are identifying the dimensions of the data. Common dimensions are geography, product, customer, and time.

For KPIs, you can select any attribute column from the subject area as a dimension. When you design the KPI, you can either pin one or multiple data values to one or more dimensions (for example, Region = Central), or you can specify that you want all or some dimension values pinned when the KPI is added to a watchlist or scorecard and when a watchlist or scorecard is added to a dashboard. After a value is pinned by the designer, the user cannot change the value.

When adding a KPI without a pre-pinned value to a watchlist, the designer can pin one or more values, or specify a session, repository, or global variable to set the dimension's value. If the designer does not pin a value or variable to a dimension, then the KPI user can select one or more values at runtime from the point of view area in either the KPI watchlist, from the scorecard that contains the KPI, from the variable prompt on a dashboard, or from the column prompt on the dashboard.


If a KPI watchlist or scorecard object containing a KPI is added to a dashboard with prompts, and the KPI is not dimensioned by a specific prompt's dimension in the KPI definition, that prompt is ignored. Additionally, if the KPI is pinned to a specific dimension value in its definition, a prompt on that dimension is ignored. Refer to "Adding a Dashboard Prompt to a Dashboard or Dashboard Page" and to the "Dashboard Properties dialog" when adding a KPI watchlist or scorecard object containing KPIs to a dashboard that contains prompts.

If a KPI with dimensions is output to an analysis, then the dimensions are displayed as columns and drills. If the dimension values are pinned, then the analysis is limited to the data that is determined by the pinned values. If the dimension is pinned with multiple values, a row is displayed for each pinned value.

Best Practice:

Define several dimensions for a KPI, but do not pin the dimensions within the KPI definition itself. This allows the user to reuse the KPI and pin it within a scorecard strategy tree, watchlist, or dashboard prompt. For example, if you create an overly specific KPI that pins a dimension, such as region to North America, the use for the KPI might be limited. If you leave the dimension unpinned, then the user makes the decision what region to pin. The usage for this KPI becomes more flexible and reusable, and prevents you from having to create and manage overly-specific KPIs.