Measures allocation

Measures Allocation is a techique that allows comparing data in a report even though it is grouped on a different level of detail.
Usually it is required to perform allocation when part of the data is available only on a higher detail level than other data.

In real-life, the measures that usually need to be allocated are fixed costs, forecasts, budget plan, discounts, rebates, customer bonus. This is because in most cases those figures are calculated on a monthly (for example COSTS), quarterly (CUSTOMER BONUS) or yearly (BUDGET) basis and very often the SALES reports are generated on a daily basis.

It is also very important to remember that in some business cases allocation is logically inappropriate and may not make any sense.

There are two ways of implementing allocation:

  • Fixed allocation - which means that there is a constant value allocated to all levels in a dimension. Users may filter the report, drill up, down, slice and dice and the figure will remain constant. It may be sometimes confusing to the end users and before putting such a figure it is necessary to make clear to the end users that the number is constantly allocated and may not act as expected when analyzing data (especially when calculating summaries).
  • Dynamic allocation (weighted, proportional) - values are allocated using subtotals of an another measure. First a percent of total of a allocation base measure is calculated and based on that figure, the corresponding values for allocated measure are calculated. The weighted type of allocation is often used in real-life datawarehouse environments.

    Measures allocation real-life example in Cognos

    In the following example we will analyze revenue, constant costs and variable costs. Our goal is to be able to compare revenue to fixed and variable costs in all the time dimension levels available.

    We will analyze the following measures from our tutorial business scenario:

  • Gross revenue - the source data stores sales records on a daily basis. It will be handled automatically be cognos.
  • Fixed costs - calculated per the whole year. The measure will be allocated.
  • Variable costs - monthly detail level in a source data. This measure will be also allocated.

    We will perform a constant value allocation to the FIXED COSTS in a YEAR dimension and dynamic allocation to the VARIABLE COSTS in a MONTH dimension (the allocation key is QUANTITY).

    To allocate a measure in PowerPlay Transformer go to a dimension level properties to the allocation tab and choose the corresponding option.

    Fixed measure allocation:
    Fixed measure allocation

    Measure allocation by QUANTITY:
    Measure allocation by QUANTITY

    We see below that fixed costs have been allocated in a constant fashion:
    We see below that fixed costs have been allocated in a constant fashion

    Variable costs allocated dynamically by quantity:
    Variable costs allocated dynamically by quantity

    Read more about Data allocation